Merger of Family First and Australian Conservatives was ‘inevitable’

Merger of Family First and Australian Conservatives was ‘inevitable’, by Rosie Lewis.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi has been accused of being a “chameleon” as his party merges with Family First, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says the move was “inevitable”.

The amalgamation follows secret talks between the conservative parties but will have little impact on the makeup of the Senate, with Family First’s new senator Lucy Gichuhi declaring she will become an independent.

Family First, established in 2001, will cease to exist as a party. …

Mr Dutton said the future of Family First was thrown into doubt when its former senator Bob Day was disqualified from the Senate, and joining the Australian Conservatives made sense.

“It was inevitable,” Mr Dutton told Sky News.

“When Bob Day exited the parliament he was really the father of Family First and obviously (he) strongly financially backed Family First and when he exited it really was a case that the writing was on the wall for Family First. It will be a natural fit with Cory and with his party that he set up. …

West Australian Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said he was “disappointed” when Senator Bernardi quit the major party but conceded the merger would “definitely put meat on the bones of the Australian Conservatives”.