The Australian – South Australian conservatives push back on Liberals’ Centre Alliance move12 August 2020
South Australian conservatives are rebelling against a Liberal push to bring Centre Alliance MPs Rebekha Sharkie and Stirling Griff into the government fold.
The move would give the Coalition a two-seat majority in the House of Representatives and greater ease in negotiating the Senate if the two South Australians supported the government’s legislative agenda.
But SA Liberal Senator Alex Antic told The Australian the pair do not share Liberal values and their move to government benches could disenfranchise local party members.
“The Liberal Party is a centre right, conservative political party and neither Ms Sharkie nor Senator Griff have a voting record which appears to be consistent with those values,” he said.
“Decisions regarding who should represent the Liberal party in Mayo and the senate are matters for the members of the Mayo FEC and the party’s state council and should not be decided in Canberra.
“A sure fire way to disenfranchise our members and alienate them from their parliamentarians is to detach them from that process and impose those decisions upon them”
While Ms Sharkie and Senator Stirling Griff told The Australian on Tuesday there had been no formal offer, Coalition sources said they hoped an arrangement could be ratified with the pair.
The Australian understands other members of the SA Liberal Right are also strongly against Centre Alliance being integrated into the party.
There are concerns about Ms Sharkie’s voting record in particular, as she has been vocal on issues like climate change and immigration – and voted to introduce controversial Medivac laws which brought asylum seekers to Australia against Scott Morrison’s wishes.
And some SA Right sources said Liberal members in Ms Sharkie’s seat of Mayo would be angered by having to take on Ms Sharkie as their candidate, after running three campaigns against her.
But Ms Sharkie has past Liberal links and has also said she would always support the Coalition in a minority government because her seat is inherently conservative.
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