Coalition election coverage of elections
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

January 3, 2020 Craig Kelly and Tony Abbott go on a speaking roadshow around marginal electorates to deliver their PowerPoint address The great coronavirus conspiracy: How scientists are getting rich by making the rest of us scared. Alan Jones acts as MC.

January 7 Barnaby Joyce declares, “We’ve always had germs. This is just part of our way of life. It’s just looney tunes to suggest we should close our borders because of something that’s occurred naturally for millions of years.”

January 18 Senator Gerard Rennick accuses the World Health Organisation of falsifying data to make the coronavirus epidemic look far worse than it is. “When you compare it directly to the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1919, it’s actually nowhere near as bad. What the data clearly shows is that we are getting better at dealing with viruses, not worse.”

January 31 Michael McCormack says “it’s ridiculous to suggest that a virus can kill a human being. The average human being is a metre and a half high. A virus is absolutely tiny. This is just the typical ravings of inner-city latte sipping bedwetters.”

February 2 George Christensen attacks reports of the coronavirus spreading: “I go to the Philippines all the time and I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s died of it”.

February 9 Senator Matt Canavan tells Andrew Bolt on Sky at Night: “What good can Australia do by acting on the coronavirus and possibly damaging our economy? We’re only a very small country.”

February 11 In an op-ed column for The Australian, Angus Taylor suggests that the coronavirus is part of a push by the World Health Organisation to tell Australians how to live. “The World Health Organisation doesn’t govern Australia,” he writes, “we do”.

February 13 Speaking to Peta Credlin on Sky at Night, Nationals MP David Gillespie states “there is no scientific consensus about whether or not the coronavirus actually exists or if it’s just a result of solar flares and sunspots”.

February 17 On the ABC’s Q&A program, Senator Jim Molan says “I’m keeping an open mind. I’m yet to see enough evidence of a link between human activity and the coronavirus. We would be crazy to change our way of life if it just turned out to be the common cold with a great publicist.”

February 20 Senator Concetta Anna Fierravanti-Wells calls for a Senate inquiry into viro-terrorists, both in Australia and overseas, who she says are “seeking to spread the coronavirus to suit their own radical leftist agenda”.

February 23 In response to criticism that he’s not doing enough to deal with the coronavirus threat, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says “I don’t hold a syringe mate”. Announcing that he will not do anything that will “endanger jobs or growth”, he rejects Labor’s declared Zero Coronavirus Target and says our best strategy is to become more “resilient” to the virus by “adapting to it”.

Peter Fray

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