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ABC News 24 11am News -

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(generated from captions) "Keep going, we're so proud of you and thanks for representing us".OK, so our top story this morning is this news that Cory Bernardi is likely, or our political editor Chris Uhlmann told us this morning that it was imminent that Cory Bernardi was going to make this move. Now, one other key figure in the Federal Coalition is George Christensen. He is the lower house member for a Queensland seat and he has made reference before to his desire for the Liberal Party to take a more conservative approach to things and he's another - probably the second most fervent supporter of that behind Cory Bernardi and George Christensen has just held a media conference. Let's take a listen to what he has had to say.Look, I haven't been approached by Cory to join him and I'm not sure what Cory is doing yet. We'll see what happens over the next 48 hours, but if he does go, um, it will be - it will be a great shame, because I think Cory is a wasted talent, particularly on the backbench. Cory should be one of the frontbenchers in the Coalition - he has got that much to offer. So we'll see what happens with Cory, but look, I have said before, I'm loyal to Barnaby Joyce, I'm loyal to the National Party and the LNP, I have been a member of that party now for over two decades, and I'm loyal to the rank and file members who pre-selected me to be the candidate that got elected to come down here to Canberra. So, you know, I'm here in the government, as long as the government holds true to the values of the people that put us there. So that's basically it.Is the Coalition losing touch with conservative voices? You mentioned you had a complaint about that last year - do you think that's why Senator Bernardi is threatening to quit?Well, we've got to reconnect, that's absolutely clear. The message from the rank and file and the base has been one that's, you know, disgruntled to say the least. We need to reconnect with our core constituency and with the people at large and I think that there's moves afoot to do that. So I really do hope that we succeed in doing that. Because if we drift away any further, you know, it's going to become untenable.So to clarify, you have had no contact with Senator Bernardi about this breakaway party? Look, not in the last few days I haven't spoken to Cory in probably a week or so.Have any of your colleagues suggested that he may be trying to encourage others to follow?No, I haven't heard that at all.But would you urge your colleagues not to follow him? What impact do you think it could have on the Coalition and its relationship with voters if the party splits like this?Look, if there's a move away, I suppose it sends a signal to the leadership that we cannot - we cannot abandon conservative causes, conservative principles and conservative policies. We've got to re-embrace them, reconnect with that part of our core constituency, and just do the job that we were elected to do and I think that, if we did that, there wouldn't be breakaways. At a time like this, what do you make of some in the party bringing up the issue of same-sex marriage again?It's not helpful. There's plenty of other issues that I've been confronted with over the Christmas and new year period, other than same-sex marriage, and we've got a policy on that. We should stick to it. If this government goes down the road of breaking its agreement with the people that we made that we were going to do to a plebiscite, then, you know, the show's over.Your tweets last night about MH17, who do you believe in terms of the cause of that crash? Who do you think shot down the plane? Russian-backed separatists or Ukrainian-backed separatist as soon asRussian-backed separatists.Why's that?Well, that's the conclusion that most investigators have come to.In terms of the tweets that you made last night, how do you think the families of the victims of MH17 would feel, following this judicial inquiry into the cause of it, into Russia's apparent links to this - how do you think they'd feel if they saw what you tweeted last night? Well, what did I tweet? I said it was done by separatists and I'm saying they are separatists backed by Russia.So you don't think there were any Ukrainian involvement at all?Well, they were Ukrainians that did it but Ukrainian separatists that were backed by Russia.Can I go back to the issue of same-sex marriage. You said the show would be over if a free vote was allowed - what do you mean by that?I think that just wandering off into these issues where the public aren't really at, certainly our core constituency aren't at, just reinforces the idea of a government out of touch and we've really got to get away from that. We've really got to reconnect with people on the issues that matter, particularly to our core constituency, but to the electorate at large and I have had no-one raise that issue with me over the summer period. I have had issues about job creation, building coal-fired power stations in North Queensland, I've had issues to do with environmental regulation with the ongoing issue of the sugar cane dispute between the growers and the millers - they are the issues that I want to have addressed quickly and upfront, rather than, you know, wasting another bout of parliamentary time debating the same-sex marriage question. We've got a policy, put it out to the people, let it be done with.Thanks for your time. OK, so that was from Parliament House in Canberra - not live, but that has just happened in the last half an hour or so, the LNP's George Christensen saying it will be a great shame if Cory Bernardi does decide to leave the Liberal Party, and that's the news from this morning from our political editor, Chris Uhlmann, that it looks like that's going to happen within two days. George Christensen saying there that he is loyal to the LNP but if the government doesn't reconnect with the core constituency then the situation might become untenable. So with news that Cory Bernardi is finally going to make this move, there has been a bit of speculation about what George Christensen might do, because he's a fervent supporter of conservative causes as well and has been outspoken on that. But George Christensen saying there for the moment that he is loyal to Barnaby Joyce and the LNP. We will be across that story through the day. We haven't heard from Cory Bernardi himself yet, since Chris Uhlmann came out with that news about three hours or so ago. Federal Police have