It is possible we are seeing the final death throes of the two party system, as the popularity of independents and smaller parties rises and with the likely defection of Bernardi from the Liberal Party. As such, Coalition moderates (if there is still such a thing) have an interesting decision coming up.
Do they continue to court the conservative vote at a heavy disadvantage to Hanson and soon Bernardi, who don’t have the inconvenience of having to be reasonable, truthful or even logical in order to retain their core constituency? Or do they eschew the hateful politics of the extreme right and define themselves according to the principles they actually believe in (some of them must stand for something right)?
Arguably, Coalition moderates had given up their traditional space to in the centre right to Labor, but with the ALP under Shorten moving further to the left again there is still an ideological niche left for long time Liberal Party supporters and members who still believe in the importance of scientific evidence as a guide to policy, and reject fundamentalist populism.
The question will be who they side with to pass legislation. The continued alliance with the very conservative National Party makes less and less sense to either group and the majority government we have become largely accustomed to is no longer a given. The traditional division between Labor and Liberal makes less sense when government has a more multilateral appearance. Moderate Liberals may find their views are closer to many in the ALP than they would to Hanson and Bernardi. And as we watch in sadness the chaos and hatred being unleashed on America by the election of a far right populist conman, I imagine some of them might have real concerns about doing anything that contributes to the rise of our own Australian version.