Independent federal MP Craig Kelly has been working with a couple of young YouTubers who’ve previously promoted conspiracy and fringe theories — including accusing Australian politicians of running a paedophile ring and calling COVID-19 a “scamdemic”.
Since the maverick MP left the Liberal Party room, he has begun dabbling in more video content that he shares to social media with video production help from Dougal Cameron and Joel Jammal, who each produce fringe video content on YouTube and Facebook.
Kelly tells Crikey both men have assisted him at times — including when he signed them into Parliament House on the morning of the federal budget for a stunt where Kelly printed a pallet of trillion dollar notes to represent Australia’s government debt — but says they are not employed staff.
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Kelly has long embraced fringe ideas and sources of misinformation, but what both Cameron and Jammal do online goes far beyond this.
World of conspiracy and far-right ideas
Both Jammal and Cameron produce online video content where they interview conspiracy theorists. Jammal’s YouTube channel mostly consists of sympathetic interviews with Riccardo Bosi, a former Australian army officer, motivational speaker and frequent candidate for federal parliament.
He’s also a conspiracy theorist who tells Jammal about lists of Australian politicians accused of being paedophiles, that vaccines and masks don’t work, that COVID-19 is not a real threat, and about the “great reset“.
Cameron, son of former Liberal MP and Obama birther Ross Cameron, is a major force behind a similar YouTube channel called Carnage House Productions. His channel also promotes similar extreme ideas. As well as interviewing Bosi and Jammal, Cameron interviewed Pete Evans, self-proclaimed “far-right YouTuber” Dia Beltran (who hosts figures like far-right extremists Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, and former senator Fraser Anning on her own channel), and Proud Boy and far-right YouTuber Tim Wilms.
Neither Cameron nor Jammal have found much success online. Both have only a few thousand YouTube subscribers and most of their videos get a couple of hundred views at best.
But they have links to broader conservative politics in Australia. Both are listed as helping with last year’s Australian Conservative Political Action Conference. Cameron also makes content for the (surprisingly conservative) Australian Penthouse magazine, and Jammal is a contributor to The Spectator Australia.
What Kelly’s link means
There is nothing to suggest that Kelly has embraced these specific extreme views — he, of course, has spent the latter part of his parliamentary career spouting unproven and disproven beliefs of his own.
But it is significant that Kelly, without the support of a party apparatus, is surrounding himself with individuals espousing theories that are even further from the mainstream than his own.
With his back to the wall, Kelly is leaning on two young men who are both digitally savvy and happy to spread conspiracies to help him fight for his political survival.
This article originally said that Jammal was a contributor to the publication Caldron Pool. Jammal has not written for them, but had claimed he had.
What does Craig Kelly’s flirtation with fringe YouTubers mean for Parliament? Let us know your thoughts by writing to [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in Crikey’s Your Say section.