CANBERRA, Feb 23 (NNN-AGENCIES) – An Australian Member of Parliament (MP), who was censured by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, for sharing virus misinformation on social media, quits the government.
Craig Kelly, the MP for the New South Wales (NSW) electorate of Hughes since 2010, announced today that, he quit the governing Liberal Party and will sit on the crossbench as an independent.
The decision leaves the government with a slim majority of 76 out of 151 seats in the lower house of Parliament.
Kelly said, he would continue to support the government, but felt the decision was necessary so he could “speak frankly and fearlessly.”
“I will support the government naturally of course, on all matter of supply, confidence, there’s nothing that I can see that’s on the agenda papers that I’m going to be objecting too strenuously, on what the government is doing,” he said.
“But I just feel that, if I’m to speak out and to use my voice the best I can that, this is the best decision for myself and the people I represent.”
Kelly has repeatedly used his official social media channels to cast doubt over the safety of the vaccines and advocate for malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
In Feb, the prime minister asked him to stop spreading information that contradicted the government’s official medical advice.
Morrison said today that the government would “continue to function” without Kelly. “(Craig and I) had a discussion a couple of weeks ago as you’ll be aware,” he told reporters.
“I set out some very clear standards and he made some commitments that I expected to be followed through on.
“He no longer felt that he could meet those commitments, but I can tell you, my standards don’t change.”– NNN-AGENCIES