Wednesday was a dark day for Australian conservatives.
The nation overwhelmingly turned its back on the principles that have been the bedrock of Western civilisation.
A tad under half the nation voted for ‘marriage equality’. And another one in five Australians could not even take the planned revolution of the basic family unit seriously enough to vote at all.
True. Marriage has been dying a thousand deaths since Henry VIII’s time. So it’s not so much that the LGBT Brigade has single-handedly destroyed this institution. To be fair to them, as a legal concept marriage had pretty much been killed off before they even showed up.
In fact, if marriage was still revered in this nation this ‘debate’ would never have occurred at all.
So if there is an analogy that is apt, we should look at this as the vultures turning up to feast on the remains of the rotting carcase of marriage more than anything else.
Nevertheless, for the nearly 40% of Australians who do take marriage, family and life seriously, it is still hard to stomach. It would be easy to be demoralised.
That was Wednesday.
And on Thursday one man gave Australian conservatives hope: Cory Bernardi.
While other conservatives around him appeared to give up the fight, he charged at the enemy in parliament and, in doing so, rallied those around him.
It is the mark of true leadership.
He targeted abortion, turning his sites particularly on gender-selection abortion and White Ribbon (the group supposedly leading the campaign against domestic violence while also campaigning for abortion for any reason at any time even up until the day of birth).
He targeted GetUp! which has ties to George Soros and campaigns for left-leaning parties such as the Greens and Labor while refusing to disclose its donations as required under legislation.
He targeted communism, calling for Australia to recognise its many victims as the United States is doing under Donald Trump.
He targeted the hydra-headed variants of ‘Safe Schools’, backing the New South Wales government for abandoning its radical theories about gender and sexuality in the classroom.
And he targeted the political process itself, noting that since 2007 our nation has been led by those without fiscal responsibility, ministerial accountability or any stability at all.
At a moment when conservatives could have been forgiven for giving up the fight, here was a lone Senator in Canberra taking it up on multiple fronts.
It was a counter-attack at the most unexpected of times and it caused confusion. It also separated the pretenders from the contenders in the Senate.
Because Cory might have started this fight alone. But he did not end it that way.
A number of Coalition Senators joined him: in particular Eric Abetz, Matt Canavan, Anne Ruston Barry O’Sullivan and Zed Seselja who all backed his motion to deny Medicare funding for gender-selection abortion. He also had the backing on One Nation.
Indeed, the majority of Liberal and National Senators also supported his motion calling out White Ribbon for its position on abortion.
We are living in times of chaos and confusion; anarchy seems to be reigning supreme.
Hard Labor seats in Western Sydney were the home of ‘No Central’. And government ministers are backing a Senator from South Australia over the government’s own position on abortion:
The government’s formal position was to oppose the motion. But nine other senators backed Senator Bernardi’s move, including Coalition frontbenchers Matt Canavan, Zed Seselja and Anne Ruston, and One Nation.
It shows two things.
Firstly, the current system inputs are crumbling and out of touch with the people on the ground. We should expect the unexpected.
Secondly, there are signs of fight and hope. Cory Bernardi is providing leadership but he also has supporters within the Liberals. All of them need backing.
How this plays out only time will tell.
But one thing is certain: without Cory Bernardi’s leadership the day after the marriage plebiscite would have been a lot darker.
A quick word on media coverage.
This are the words of Judith Ireland, who covered Cory Bernardi’s Senate motions for Fairfax:
Abortion law in Australia is a state and territory matter and Medicare does not specifically fund sex-selection abortions.
She wrote them even though Medicare funding of abortion is a Commonwealth matter.
And she wrote them even though if you specifically walk into an abortion centre and specifically request an abortion because your baby is specifically the wrong gender Medicare will specifically cover specific amounts for the termination of pregnancy.
Nevertheless, she still wrote them. That’s called journalism these days.