Ready, Fire, Aim: ‘Corgi’ Bernardi’s Back, And Swinging As Wildly As Ever


ANALYSIS | Violence by brown people: bad. Violence by white people: Mmmmm, more please! Chris Graham trolls former politician Cory Bernardi’s Twitter page, with predictable results.

I’m not sure about anybody else, but politics in Australia has been much the poorer without Cory Bernardi’s innate ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and look ridiculous while he does it.

Briefly, for those who don’t remember him, Bernardi was elected to the Senate for the South Australian Liberals in 2006, but after the 2016 election he quit the party in a huff because they weren’t right-wing and/or religious enough for him. Go figure.

And that explains how Bernardi came to found his own political party, Australian Conservatives, which promptly collapsed two years later under the weight of its own bullshit. Shortly after that, Bernardi quit parliament altogether.

If you still can’t place him, just think of every extreme view on the right, multiply it by 10, and Bernardi thinks it’s too progressive. Exhibit A: Bernardi doesn’t believe global warming is caused by humans; he supports major cuts to the ABC; he’s opposed to same-sex marriage (claiming it will inevitably lead to polygamy and bestiality, a rant that led to him being nicknamed ‘Corgi Bernardi’); he’s anti-abortion; and his views on Islam are… well, take a guess.

Former Liberal extremist Cory Bernardi, speaking at the Senate Inquiry into the certification of foods.

In 2011, Bernardi objected to the Commonwealth paying the funeral expenses of asylum seekers who died while in our custody. Then he claimed he wasn’t against Muslims, just Islam itself. And then he clarified those remarks with this zinger: “When I say I’m against Islam, I mean that the fundamentalist Islamic approach of changing laws and values does not have my support.” Because, you know, the fundamentalist Catholic approach to changing laws and values is sooooo much better (we need more paedophilia, not less!).

And who could forget his ill-fated Senate inquiry into halal certification in Australia, the funds from which Bernardi boldly claimed were being used to fund terrorism… only for Bernardi to list Hamas as a “proscribed terrorist organisation” that was probably getting the cash… only for it to turn out that Hamas wasn’t a proscribed terrorist organisation… and in any event wasn’t receiving the cash anyway.

‘Cory Takes On Halal’ was easily one of the most farcical albeit entertaining wastes of taxpayer time and money in living memory. But while Bernardi has disappeared from the halls of parliament, we’re delighted to report he hasn’t disappeared from politics altogether, holding court on his very own Twitter page where almost 60,000 folks hang on his every word. Give or take.

And that’s how on Sunday, Bernardi came to tweet a warning to the West, about “the price of diversity and tolerance”. Except that without a well-paid Liberal staffer to help him, it came out like this: “It (sic) the price of diversity and tolerance as the West writes its own suicide note.”

The tweet features a video of a violent clash in a street somewhere in London, in which dozens of people appear to target a single individual, and occasionally the police protecting him. But while the video is big on action, it’s very short on detail. Specifically, it could have happened last week, last month, or last millennia – the video, and Cory’s tweet, don’t say.

The mystery wasn’t helped by the fact that Bernardi was just amplifying someone else’s tweet – he didn’t actually create it. That ‘honour’ appeared to belong to Marina Medvin, a woman from the United States who describes herself as a “Defense Attorney” and a “Patriot Advocate”. So, you know, a cooker. But upon closer inspection it turned out that she was also just retweeting someone else… someone called ‘TXdeplorable’.

And as you might have guessed, that’s where things really started to go pear-shaped, because, if we’ve learned anything about social media over the last decade, it’s that you should never retweet an anonymous somebody with a silly Twitter name. Unless, of course, they’re saying something you agree with!

Inevitably, the whole story started to fall apart rather quickly, because while Bernardi and Medvin weren’t smart enough to check the provenance of their retweet, Txdeplorable was actively working to mislead people about it… with mixed success.

Notwithstanding his dismissive response, TXdeplorable – who lives in the United States if his actual Twitter handle of “@Texas_Made” is anything to go by – continued to be challenged by people who actually live in London about when the footage was captured. Eventually, he was forced to concede. Sort of.

And by weeks, they mean months. Two to be precise. The footage is from an incident in London in mid-September. But – and here’s the rub – it’s not just random violence from ‘brown people’ aka ‘the price of diversity’ ‘aka Muslims’. The footage is actually from a protest by predominantly Iranian ex-pats living in England, and what they’re protesting turns out to be a little ‘inconvenient’ for the narrative Bernardi et al routinely push. Over to the facts for a bit clarity.

22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody in Iran recently, sparking protests around the world.

On September 16, a young Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, aged 22, died in a Tehran hospital shortly after being arrested by the ‘Guidance Patrol’ – the Iranian Government’s ‘morality police’ – for the offence of not wearing a hijab in accordance with government mandated standards. While Iranian officials have denied any violence was inflicted on Amini, eye witnesses claim she was severely beaten by police, and leaked medical scans reportedly back up this version of events.

Amini’s death has sparked widespread and continuing protests from Iranians and their supporters all over the globe, with more than 300 Iranians already killed at home. And that is what underpinned the incident in London.

On September 25, protestors gathered outside the Iranian Embassy in South Kensington, where clashes with police protecting the embassy saw more than a dozen arrests, and at least five police officers injured.

The police line ultimately held, and so, unable to reach the Embassy, protesters turned their anger a short distance north to a suburb called Maida Vale, which also happens to be home to the Islamic Centre of England (here’s a link to the exact spot on Google Maps where the footage is shot, which is about 150 metres east of the Mosque).

It’s there that the video in Bernardi’s retweet captures a mob of men attacking an older man who, it’s alleged, had minutes earlier threatened protesters that their families in Iran would be harmed as a result of their participation in anti-Government actions. The crowd obviously had other ideas.

A crowd of predominantly Iranian protestors in London turn on a man accused of threatening that family members of protestors back in Iran would be harmed.

Does that make it all okay? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated, because whether you agree with the mob’s conduct or not, the men depicted in the video were protesting the killing of a young woman by government officials for not wearing a hijab, and calling for the toppling of the Iranian Government. So… you know, not the sorts of protests Brits are used to seeing (for example, whenever Tottenham faces Arsenal, or Manchester United faces anyone, or whenever [INSERT RANDOM PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM] plays [INSERT RANDOM PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM]).

In any event, attacking the Iranian Government is, surely, something on which Cory Bernardi can get on board? Like he does here in 2016 while he was still a member of the Libs. And here, a few months back in June 2022. But most notably, here, just days after the London protests, where Compassionate Cory notes:

“This week the tales of women killed [in Iran]because they refuse to wear the hijab – or Islamic headscarf – have been horrifying. There are reports that 76 protesters have been killed while demonstrating in support of Mahsa Amini – whose family believe she was killed by the morality police.”

Yeah, no shit Sherlock.

And just in case Bernardi tries to slither his way out of this one by suggesting that ‘violence is never the answer’, here he is two days earlier, retweeting a post which celebrates someone being knocked out with a coward’s punch.

Welcome back Corgi. We’ve missed you.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.