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Bernardi Leaves Parliament | The Australian

Greg Brown | The Australian

Liberal turncoat Cory Bernardi has formally resigned from parliament, with his exit set to bolster the government’s numbers in the Senate when parliament begins next month.

Former Law Council of Australia president Morry Bailes will seek preselection for the South Australian Senate spot and has gained the backing of leading conservative Mathias Cormann and South Australian MPs Tony Pasin and Nicolle Flint.

Mr Bailes, the managing partner at Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers, will face South Australian state MP Andrew McLachlan and former state party treasurer Michael van Dissel in a preselection vote on February 1. The position will be filled by a Liberal as Mr Bernardi ran under the party’s banner when he was re-elected to the upper house in 2016.

He resigned from the party less than a year into his six-year term to start his own party, the Australian Conservatives.

His party failed and was disbanded last year but he remained an independent.

Senate President Scott Ryan said on Monday he received Mr Bernardi’s letter of resignation.

“The resignation takes effect immediately,” he tweeted.