Bernardi retirement boosts govt in Senate

Senator Cory Bernardi is leaving politics next month, after 13 years in Parliament

Independent senator Cory Bernardi's retirement from politics will officially strengthen the government's senate position, but his departure will effectively make little difference to numbers in the upper house.

Senator Bernardi broke away from the Liberals in 2017 to form his own conservative party, but it failed dismally at the last election.

As the South Australian was initially elected as a Liberal, his retirement will allow the Liberals to fill the casual vacancy, reducing the Senate crossbench to five,.

The coalition will have one more senator for a total of 36 when the vacancy is filled, requiring only three extra votes for a majority to pass legislation.

Although an independent, Senator Bernardi's vote for the government was virtually assured, prompting Labor leader Anthony Albanese to point out Senate numbers won't change.

"I don't see it as making a difference," Mr Albanese told reporters on Wednesday.

"I had Cory Bernardi in the 'others' column for every vote.

"I mean, I'd rather, frankly, have someone who doesn't pretend they're not a Liberal than someone who pretends to be an independent and just votes with them.

"You may as well be more honest and at least this will be more fair dinkum."

Senator Bernardi, an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage and climate change, is confident he is leaving politics with his dignity in tact.

"I feel very comfortable with who I am and what I have spoken about and if I have regrets, there are very few," he told Sky News.

"If nothing else I opened up lots of conversations, I remained true to my values and principles. People will make judgments about whether they were right or wrong."

He rarely agreed with the Labor Party.

"I think he's someone who genuinely holds his views," Mr Albanese said.

"It's just unfortunate that most of his views are wrong."

In February 2017, Senator Bernardi set up the Australian Conservatives party amid concerns the Liberals were veering too far to the left under Malcolm Turnbull.

The party was disbanded in June this year after abysmal state and federal election results.

Senator Bernardi entered parliament in 2006, replacing retired minister Robert Hill.

The former investment adviser and hotelier attracted controversy over his calls to ban burqas, condemnation of gay marriage, climate scepticism and support for a nuclear industry.