PM MUST PULL BACKBENCHER IN LINE OVER HEALTH MISINFORMATION

CHRIS BOWEN MP.
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4 days ago
PM MUST PULL BACKBENCHER IN LINE OVER HEALTH MISINFORMATION
CHRIS BOWEN MP
The Government’s own experts have again called out Craig Kelly on his false and dangerous social media rants promoting hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, yet the Prime Minister, Health Minister and Communications Minister have yet to utter a word of criticism against their backbencher.
 
First it was the nation’s Chief Medical Officers, now the Deputy Chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority has said Craig Kelly’s hydroxychloroquine posts should be removed from social media.
 
Appearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, ACMA Deputy Chair Creina Chapman said that the media regulator has proposed a “graduated system of harm” for misinformation on digital platforms in Australia.
 
Ms Chapman said “The most harmful material ... the example of health harm would be material that we would expect they would take down.”
 
When asked specifically if she sees Craig Kelly’s social media posts on hydroxychloroquine as harmful and whether they should be taken down, Ms Chapman replied “Yes – and I think anybody would.”
 
Anybody but the Prime Minister it seems.
 
Scott Morrison talks a big game about keeping Australians safe and holding digital platforms to account, but is too weak to confront his own backbench MP and Captain’s Call for the seat of Hughes about spreading harmful health misinformation during a pandemic.
 
Craig Kelly’s wilful ignorance of science and medicine should be called out for what it is, and the Prime Minister and Greg Hunt should admonish Kelly for waging war on health officials and experts who are under immense pressure during this pandemic.
 
The Government needs to speak to the Australian people with one voice, reassure them and promote best practise health measures, not allow fringe-dwelling backbenchers to peddle conspiracy theories.
 
Labor understands the importance of maintaining public trust in our health institutions, that’s why we backed the role of the independent Therapeutic Goods Administration in Parliament, before the Government gagged debate.
 
Scott Morrison has had opportunity after opportunity to show leadership, but every time sidesteps the issue.
 
On 3 August, when asked about Kelly’s Facebook post that Victoria Premier Dan Andrews should be jailed because hydroxychloroquine is banned in Victoria, Scott Morrison said he won’t “get into what people talk about on Facebook on a day like this”.
 
With the health and safety of Australians at stake, it is well past time to get into it.
 
Anyone but the Prime Minister can see that.
 
Health and Aged Care