The Liberal Party has expelled conservative MP Bernie Finn after he said abortion should be banned in Victoria.
According to The Age, the Victorian MP’s Liberal colleagues ‘voted to expel him in a party room meeting on Tuesday morning, forcing him onto the crossbench in the upper house of the Victorian Parliament.’
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the motion was about ‘respectful discourse,’ which he ‘expects people to uphold… whatever their issues.’
Finn did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, describing it as a “kangaroo court” that he would not be “legitimising” with his presence.
The Member for Western Metro Region, who held off publicly commenting on his expulsion until after the federal election, told Caldron Pool he learned of the party’s intentions through the media.
“The Leader was communicating to me via the media, which I would think is a pretty strange way of doing business,” Finn said, noting the “extraordinary” timing of the whole thing.
“They’re saying that I’m being thrown out because I’ve been detrimental to the party. Now, if doing this in the week of an election isn’t detrimental to the party, I don’t know what is.
“If you want to talk about what’s detrimental to the party, I would have thought having a public brawl and showing disunity in the week of an election–now, that’s detrimental to the party.”
“It’s all very bloody odd,” he said, noting also that his recent pro-life remarks were nothing new.
“I’ve been saying this for forty-five years — since I was a kid! I have not changed my view on this,” he said. “It’s nothing new. This is something that I’ve been speaking about regularly for decades, literally decades.
“I lead the March for the Babies every year. I’m the president of March for the Babies, I mean, how much more publicly pro-life can I be?
“For them to then turn around and say this is outrageous as if it’s something new. I mean, what is going on here?
“It’s a total beat-up.”
Finn said the move signals an “absolutely bizarre” shift in the party and sends a message to conservatives that they’re no longer welcome.
“This is a clear message to conservative voters that the Liberal Party doesn’t want them,” he said.
“You can’t tell me that they can do this without thinking they’re going to lose votes from the conservatives. Of course, they will.”
The Australian Christian Lobby weighed in, criticizing the Liberal Party and warning the move could alienate a major part of the party’s base.
“This is a shocking development for pro-life and Christian Liberal voters who – until now – thought the Liberal Party welcomed them,” said Wendy Francis, ACL’s National Director of Politics.
“It would be foolish to assume that the pro-life issue is a non-issue, even in Victoria. Many quiet Australians and most people of faith consider it to be the most important political issue of this generation.”
Around 100 supporters turned out at Victorian Parliament House on Tuesday morning following the announcement of Finn’s expulsion.
One supporter told Caldron Pool she fears the move will end conservative support for the Liberal Party in Victoria.
“Expelling Bernie will prove to everyone beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Liberal Party has capitulated and become just another arm of ‘cancel culture,’” she said.
“Conservatives and Libertarians are not punching bags for flailing leaders, and we won’t put up with being treated as though we are any longer – let alone invest our money, time, and votes – for the insult.”
City of Melton councillor Moira Deeming told Caldron Pool she has ‘eternal respect’ for the Victorian MP.
“I for one, am grateful to Bernie because he never patronised his electorate – he never squirmed out of difficult conversations, never lied about how he’d vote in parliament, and I know of plenty who do just that.
“He stood up for what he believes in, even at great personal cost. He is a true defender of freedom of speech,” she added.
Finn is yet to reveal what his next move will be, but said in the past year he’s been approached by several other parties.
“The temptation is to give it away,” he admitted, “but I’m not finished with it. I’ve still got more to give.”