An Open Letter to Cory Bernardi

Cory and Sinead BernardiDear Cory Bernardi,

Before you ignore this letter like all the other outraged mail you must be getting in response to your book, The Conservative Revolution, you should know that this is not a letter of grievance. It is one of congratulations. I want to congratulate you for your honesty and your commitment to your ideals, which you are obviously unwilling to hide whether you’re causing yourself and your government political pain or not. Well done Cory. Brave man.

I also want to congratulate you for forcing this honesty onto Tony Abbott. Some in the media are already reporting that Abbott is distancing himself from your published work, but when you actually scrutinise what Abbott has said, he’s done nothing of the sort. Today, through a spokesperson mind you, Abbott released this statement:

“Senator Bernardi is a backbencher and his views do not represent the position of the government”.

I’m sure you’re just as interested in this statement by Abbott as I am, so let’s scrutinise it further. The first few words are nothing because we already knew you were a backbencher. You chose to step down as Abbott’s front-bench-attack-dog-in-chief after public outrage concerning your interest in bestiality. Note you made the decision to resign. Abbott didn’t fire you. This is an important distinction. Abbott called you ‘ill-disciplined’ which I can only assume meant you were ill-disciplined in hiding the real values of Abbott and his right-wing crazies. I mean colleagues. Like you.

The next part of Abbott’s very brief statement, which I also note is wholly lacking in condemnation, says that your views do not represent the position of the government. These words were selected very carefully I assume. And I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing I have Cory. I’m sure you are fully aware of the little back-handed way Abbott has quite consciously refused to censure what you said. He’s decided not to make any personal comment about how he feels about the horrid nature of what you call ‘ideals’. He’s commented about the position of the ‘government’, which he, I’m really sorry to say, is currently in control of. These are weasel words that do nothing to personally distance Abbott from anything you have said. This is like me saying ‘Senator Bernardi lives in Adelaide and his views do not represent the position of the state of South Australia’. Abbott’s statement neither approves nor condemns what you have published, and in no way distances him from what I can only conclude from this lack of distancing is a shared opinion on abortion, on family structures and on the relationship between church and state.

So now that I’ve conclusively cleared up the shared values that you have publically outed on behalf of your right wing colleagues, including Tony Abbott, I just want to summarise for you how disgusting you and Tony Abbott and others who share your views are. From one of the many outraged Australians who can’t stand the idea of people like you representing our interests, I want you to know that Abbott might not be distancing himself from you, but your book will ensure the electorate distances itself wholeheartedly from you at the next election.

How dare you say that the children of single mothers are promiscuous and lawbreakers. Apart from the fact that you have no research or data to back up this abhorrent assumption, you also have no right to judge families who for many reasons, often outside of their control, are not viewed as ‘traditional’ by you. How dare you accuse women of using abortion as birth control. The outrage I would like to express about this sentiment is too overwhelmingly expansive for this letter, but let me just try to explain it with one descriptive word that sums up you and your mate Abbott. Hateful. Full of hate.

The thing that upsets me most about you, if it is possible to rank my objections without diminishing how outraged I am about some more than others, is your idealism around bringing the church into your government. If it wasn’t bad enough that you’ve ripped science out of your government, now you are trying to do exactly what progressives like me feared you were going to do, and what we warned people you would do, and what no one wanted to hear when they were busy giving you and Abbott a free pass and what people who voted for you refused to admit after you all promised not to do this. You want to turn the secular nation of Australian into a religious state. You want to impose your biblical wrath on all of us. Through policy. Just like Julia Gillard warned us all you would do, but no on listened because they were too busy accusing her of playing the ‘gender card’. If Gillard was playing the gender card, you, Cory Bernardi, are currently playing the religious-zealot-hateful-judgemental-lunatic card. And Abbott is privately cheering you on.

I don’t want you to feel that this letter has gone from a congratulating tone, to one of negativity. So I will leave you with this message. Thank you again Cory for being brave enough to continue with your un-disciplined campaign to remind us, and to show the entire country exactly what you and Abbott and the rest of your conservative blue-tie wearing dinosaurs really think. We salute you. And we look forward to ripping apart future statements from Tony Abbott’s office full of weasel words that refuse to distance his views from yours.

Yours sincerely
Victoria Rollison


  1. Well said Victoria..Normally one would expect the Minister for Women would be outraged when there is such an outrageous attack on Australian women. A diplomatically worded press release saying that Australian women, comprising 50% of the population, deserve better from their elected members. Of course when the self appointed Minister of Women is a member of the suited, blue tie, religious right then HE shows how dismissive, demeaning & patronising he has made of the role. The attitude and views towards women are on view for all to see. Bernadi is saying what most within the Coalition believe on some level…the silence of their dissent says it all.

    Well, we the women of Australia, say You Dont Speak For Me!

  2. One of the many, many, MANY outraged Australians – that’s what you should’ve written, Victoria – this is not an instance where we need to deprecate the use of the adverb.

  3. So it is acceptable for the health department to desire fewer heart attacks caused by whatever lifestyle choices people make, fewer cancers (which are largely the result of things people choose to do to themselves), but it isn’t acceptable to desire fewer abortions?

    Why are people of faith not allowed to bring their world view into the public square when people of any other world view (secular humanism for example) are allowed to bring theirs?

    You do realise that in the same comment where Bernadi mentioned beastiality he also mentioned polygamy. In Utah, they have just overturned the state prohibition on polygamy as unconstitutional. Coincidence that this happens just at the same time as marriage is undergoing redefinition everywhere else?

  4. The quote from the book in question:
    “Given the increasing number of ‘non-traditional’ families, there is a temptation to equate all family structures as being equal or relative. Why then the levels of criminality among boys and promiscuity among girls who are brought up in single-parent families, more often than not headed by a single mother?”

    The studies are there to back up the claims on criminality if you’d look. all it took was a quick use of google.

    • 3 things Bob
      1 Correlation does note equate to causation – i.e. does being in a single parent family cause or contribute to such behaviours or are there other factors at play? which brings we to 2)
      2 Googling for scientific studies can be tricky as there is a lot of opinion based commentary with little fact behind it. Be careful where you find your so called studies!
      3 If you dig deeper into properly designed studies done over time you will find that there is a much higher correlation (& perhaps causation) based on children in homes which are poor to extremely poor. And single parent homes are over represented in this group. But if you do comparative studies (& they have been done) for crime rates connected to poverty rather than partental structures you will find high correlations. What is cause & what is correlation? Adjusting to balance for family types will show that this is NOT a statistically significant cause as Bernardi asserts

      And this is not to necessarily blame those in poverty – disenfranchised people with poor prospects for fruitful participation in society may well be exercising their perceived rights to accessing some of the resources controlled by the 1%.

    • @stats guy:
      I never inferred causation, only following from what Bernardi said in there being correlation.

      So in other words, on the whole the traditional family is less prone to being poor, and so also less prone to producing criminals? For a given cohort of people raised by single parents or by two parents, your stats will still show that those with single parents have more offending. That you’d claim it is from poverty is secondary.

      And you’re quite happy excusing criminality as wealth redistribution? Got to hope you’re not on the receiving end of a burglary, as the loss of property is next to nothing compared to the sense of violation of your space.

  5. Bob, don’t you find it a teensy bit hypocritical lecturing women about abortion, something you will never have to contemplate doing in your entire life. Makes me ill to hear men sanctimoniously waffling on about this subject. Of course, it does take a man to impregnate a woman. Maybe if men took more responsibility for birth control, instead of expecting women to do so, there might be less need for abortions, You also do know that the figures quoted by the vile Bernardi are not only grossly inflated by him but also include D&Cs, miscarriages & procedures that aren’t straight out abortions.

    Wonderful open letter, Victoria. It should be spread far & wide. Naturally, the nasty, closed-minded, vindictive Bernardi will never read it. Too busy doing business for the Tea Party, ALEC & worming out the true liberals in the Liberal Party. Treasonous so & so

    • Always glad to hear that because I am a man I’m not allowed to have an opinion on abortion, and that it is sanctimonious waffle to have any care for the unborn for whatever reason. Even if men did step up and express a desire to care for the baby conceived in an unplanned manner, the man isn’t allowed to express a desire to take full care and responsibility for the child if born.

      All of which Sidesteps the substantive issue of the moral status of what happens at an abortion or when a person becomes a person.

      The easiest way to deflate Bernardi’s point would be to have a medicare number for elective abortions as distinct from miscarriage or stillbirth. Get the data so we can have an informed debate about the numbers and then possibly about whether the unborn have any human rights.

  6. Bob,
    I respectfully think that you confuse the entirely valid rights and concerns of members of our community (eg reduction of abortion numbers, preservation of Christian values) with the right of self-appointed moral crusaders such as Mr Bernardi to unreservedly impose his own personal beliefs upon others.

    • How exactly is Bernardi imposing anything? He is expressing his viewpoint. He isn’t a minister of anything. He isn’t in charge of health. He isn’t writing text books. In the free market of ideas, his can be opposed (as it is here and in other places).

      It is up to individuals as to whether they chose to accept or reject his ideas.

      • Bob,
        I agree entirely. That is precisely the point, that we can and should debate issues, listen to and value others’ point of view…do you think that Cory adopts this approach?

      • Kim,
        he’s floated his ideas into the marketplace for discussion.
        What we do with it is up to us. It is possible to respect a person while disagreeing with their position (as Voltaire put it). Respect for the person should be held higher than respect for the point of view. Not all viewpoints are as valid as we all make judgements every day that some ideas are good (coffee for morning tea) while others are bad (slavery, FGM). Debate sorts the good from the bad.

        If he is a person of faith based on more than subjective emotion, he’d be a hypocrite if he discarded his beliefs readily. if he believes the christian morality is correct, isn’t he showing consistency in voicing that clearly rather than in a weak way?

        arguably even Abbott is weak on this due to being shouted down for any time he dares express his private views. Although, now that he is PM he doesn’t have the liberty to be able to float personal ideas as that gets interpreted as policy statements representative of the entire party.

      • Bob,
        I have no serious disagreement with anything you have stated above. I think that you get my drift though….tolerance and respect for others’ views and situations must come from all

    • Ooooh. That’s clever. I see what you did there. Take words completely out of the context they were put in and make your own meanings.

  7. Cory Bernardi expresses the far-right wing view that the Church should instruct the State. Aside fro the fact that wars and revolutions have taken place to avoid this, one has to consider which Church should have the role. A considerable increase in the number of Australians that indicated they followed a faith other than the Christian faith showed up in the latest census. That number included an increasing number of Australians stating they were of no faith.
    The public submissions for the next census has well over 600 people asking for better defined choices for expressing their religious beliefs or otherwise, particularly atheism.
    The Tory’s stance is highly discriminating in light of the statistical shift away from Christianity in Australia. Pursuit of this goal will bring us world-wide embarrassment.

    • It is not “the church” expressing a view. It is an individual who holds to a christian worldview expressing a view.

      I’m not at all in favour of a theocracy. It’s done no good, and people should have freedom of conscience. I’m genuinely curious as to which wars and revolutions you believe were fought to separate church and state or avoid religious interference? British civil war wasn’t over religion. American civil war was over tax and representation. French revolution wasn’t about the church, and neither were the russian or chinese revolutions. People have gone to war inspired by various deities, but that’s not about church and state division as we have in our constitution.

  8. When the Churches, like any other corporation, start paying taxes and do something meaningful about the institution aliased abuse of children then can have a say in our laws and have some moral authority. But not before.

    • so individuals who happen to believe what churches believe also have to shut up?
      The coverup of abuse by some churches is abominable, but doesn’t mean that the churches have nothing to contribute to the discussion on moral issues in society.
      Out of curiosity, do unions pay tax?

      I dont think churches would blink twice if they had to swap tax free status for the “liberty” to be able to participate in civil discourse.

  9. You must be a fool not to actually read his book and all the research he has provided that you maintain he hasn’t. Bigoted sexist nonsense in this post Victoria.

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