To look into the mind of Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly is to understand that there are unlimited conspiracy permutations once you fall down the rabbit hole. Here are just some of his preoccupations and their sub-variations.
- Pro-ivermectin treatment
- Pro-hydroxychloroquine treatment
Climate and global warming:
- Renewables don’t work
- The Bureau of Meteorology commits fraud
- Historical high temperatures prove there is no global warming
- Extreme cold temperatures in Brazil.
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- Infiltrated by China
The United Nations:
- Pushing a socialist, globalist agenda.
The World Economic Forum:
- “Great Reset” is a Marxist plot to take your wealth.
We now know the breadth and depth of Kelly’s conspiracy beliefs due to the work of Tom Kristensen, a resident of Kelly’s south-west Sydney electorate of Hughes, who has mapped Kelly’s Facebook posts for more than a year and a half, back to April 2019.
Kristensen began the exercise of documenting Kelly’s Facebook posts at the beginning of 2020 at the height of Australia’s disastrous bushfires when Kelly chose to post a story about the freezing temperatures being experienced in Siberia, directly challenging global warming. Kelly later picked up the “green arson” conspiracy theme. Kristensen discovered to his surprise that Kelly posted next to nothing on local electorate matters.
He’s noticed a growing trend: “Kelly used to attract the old guy keyboard warriors, but since he started posting anti-vaccination messages he’s attracted a wider audience. You can see young mothers commenting favourably.”
Kelly’s Facebook followers have ballooned to more than 90,000, well in excess of nearly all other parliamentarians.
What emerges from his more than 2000 posts is the portrait of man who sees himself as a free thinker, fighting the tyranny of an authoritarian state. He quotes George Orwell several times on his Facebook page, ramming home the idea that man’s very freedom is at stake.
Favourite Orwell quotes include: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery”; “The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it”; “In a time of universal deceit speaking the truth is a revolutionary act”; “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
The truth of Kelly, of course, is that he is about as far from an original thinker as you can be. His Facebook pages — and his mind — are ultimately a curated version of alt-right thinking, imported primarily from the United States. He quotes from a range of far-right sources including Breitbart, the Trump-supporting The Epoch Times, The Australian and, of course, Sky News, where he is a frequent guest.
Whether or not Kelly’s words influence anyone much is open to question. His greatest sin may be that via his Facebook posts he acts as a taxpayer-funded, Morrison government-backed amplifier of far-right sources with whom he has a mutually dependent relationship.