Aussies want Morrison to refute health misinformation

Font Size:

Australians are fed up with the growing spread of misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and want Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do something about it.

New research by The Australia Institute shows that 77 per cent of Australians think Mr Morrison bears a responsibility to correct and criticise members of his own government who post misinformation online.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who has previously championed the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, posted a link to Facebook last week examining the impact of mask-wearing on children during the pandemic and likening it to child abuse.

“What other conclusion can be drawn from this first ever published study, other than that forcing children to wear masks is causing massive physical and psychological harm – that can only be defined as child abuse,” Mr Kelly wrote.

Acting prime minister Michael McCormack refused to criticise the post and defended the right to post the information.

“Facts sometimes are contentious and what you might think is right, somebody else might think is completely untrue,” Mr McCormack said. “That is part of living in a democratic country.”

On Monday, opposition leader Anthony Albanese called on Mr Morrison to condemn the Facebook posts by Mr Kelly and others.

“Labor condemns Craig Kelly for spreading misinformation in a pandemic,” Mr Albanese tweeted. “It’s on all of us as leaders to call it out. Now it’s your turn, PM.”

The Australia Institute surveyed 1003 Australians on the subject of misinformation and found that support for the prime minister to rebuke misinformation from with his own government went across party lines.

Overall, 77 per cent of respondents believed that Mr Morrison had a responsibility to criticise and correct health misinformation from politicians.

Broken down by the political party respondents supported, there was 77 per cent support from Coalition supporters. Support was even higher among Labor (81 per cent) and Greens (83 per cent) voters, but lower from One Nation (69 per cent) and independent voters (59 per cent).

Deputy director of The Australia Institute Ebony Bennett said the prime minister was ignoring the needs of the public by allowing the misinformation to go unchallenged.

“By remaining silent on misinformation spread by members of his own government, including the promotion of unproven drugs and describing face masks for schoolchildren as ‘child abuse’, the prime minister is putting the health of Australians and the health of our democracy at risk,” Ms Bennett said.

“More than three-quarters of Australians think the prime minister has a responsibility to publicly criticise MPs like Craig Kelly when they spread misinformation, including three-quarters of Coalition voters.

“Vaccinating the Australian population against COVID-19 will be one of the largest peacetime operations in Australian history and if MPs who spread misinformation like Craig Kelly have the tacit endorsement of the prime minister it will only jeopardise and undermine the success of the public health effort.”

Last week the Australian Medical Association called on the government to invest in advertising to counter health misinformation being spread on the internet and social media.

Do you think the prime minister should publicly rebuke members of parliament who spread misinformation during the pandemic? Are you worried that allowing these posts to go unchallenged will encourage people to shun vaccinations?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Travel SOS: What's the deal with face masks and flying?

Ian has seen reports of people flying without masks and wants to know if it is safe.

Doctors call for action on social media’s health misinformation

Three-quarters of Aussies want the prime minister to rebuke Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly for

Written by Ben


Total Comments: 9
  1. 4

    Leadership is not a strong point for the Liar from the shire . Unless it’s photo op by his private photographer he’s seldom seen. He can hardly admonish anyone for misinformation as he spreads enough himself. I agree he and the rest of the right wing knuckle draggers are making ridiculous statements about freedom of speech and censorship but not criticizing the TRUMP for inciting a riot. About time we get a new Government that we can trust.

    • 2

      So popster…giving misleading information is okay….we call that freedom of speech,that’s fair enough….then why should i look past The ABC,Chis Bowen and leftist rags if that freedom of speech suits me and others….as for Donald Trump not inciting a riot on the White House….i think that might be stretching the truth somewhat.That could be a fact you can check up on….have fun.

  2. 2

    Scomo true to form with the bush fires and now covid vaccine is either AOWL or MIA

  3. 2

    The headline, as usual, is totally misleading. 77% of 1003 people disagreed, not 77% of Australians. Add to that what appears to be rubbery maths or sloppy reporting, take your pick. We are led to believe that 77% of all those polled disagree and 77% of Coalition supporters disagree yet when we average out the numbers given it is impossible to arrive at the same percentages.

    • 2

      If you understand how reputable polls work (as opposed to fb or newscorp online ones), 1000 is the average sample size which has evolved over the years to provide an accurate enough indication of the general population, after ensuring that the subjects are spread evenly across demographic factors to represent the population as it exists.

    • 2

      That may be so, violet, but I distrust polls because we are never given the questions asked nor the areas in which those questions were asked. Remember, polling told us that Britain would remain in the EU, Hillary would be President of the US and Shorten would be our PM. This link, although from a comedy show, gives a very real insight into how to frame a poll to achieve the answer one wants.

  4. 0

    Bogo….isn’t a conservative a Liberal here in Australia….so in the U.S.A a liberal is a leftie and ugly…..i must make sure next time i vote that the person i vote for is not ugly….but if by chance they are conservative and ugly what do i do.

  5. 2

    I agree. He should be showing leadership in his party and to the nation, and not allowing deluded attention-seekers such as Kelly and George Christensen to share conspiracy theories which have been proven to be demonstrably false.

  6. 1

    4b2 states “About time we get a new Government that we can trust.”
    Now just where do you suggest we find such a government? Maybe one led by Each Way Albo.



continue reading


What happens to regional travellers when borders snap shut?

Beryl lives in a regional area and is planning a trip to another regional area and wants to know if...


Surprising Aussie town of the year revealed

If you were asked to name Australia's best town, what would you say? If your mind wandered to the sweeping...


Avalon airport first to introduce COVID testing kiosks

Avalon Airport is the first in Australia to use COVID-testing kiosks after the HealthGate machine was approved by the Therapeutic...


Some of the world's most verdant city escapes

In an increasingly eco-conscious world, smoky, fume-filled cities often get a bad name. The car exhaust, the noise pollution, the...


Simon and Carla Fowler are sailing through retirement

As soon as the pandemic is over and life returns to some semblance of order, would you consider buying a...


Can you guess the city from a virtual walk around the streets?

As we rapidly approach the one-year anniversary of Australia's international borders being closed, you will not be alone in missing...


New South Wales' top five stays

Airbnb in New South Wales is booming. The variety and quality of stays is staggering. However, many of the most...


Jordan is a Middle Eastern delight

"Jordan is one of the driest places on earth. About 75 per cent of our land is desert," notes our...