Scott Morrison has blasted “crazy rubbish” coronavirus conspiracy theories a day after parliament condemned a government MP for spreading misinformation.
Coalition MPs backed a Labor motion denouncing Queensland LNP MP George Christensen after he used parliament to claim lockdowns and face masks did not work.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said all MPs had a responsibility to counter misinformation during the pandemic.
“Crazy rubbish conspiracies have no place when it comes to the public health of this country,” he told parliament.
“This government will have no association with it as we demonstrated yesterday in this house.”
Senior Nationals distanced themselves from their partyroom colleague with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce speaking to Mr Christensen about his outburst.
“I’ve had conversations with him – that doesn’t mean he’s a slave of anybody,” Mr Joyce told ABC radio.
The Nationals leader said it was absurd to suggest he could stop the outspoken backbencher from making similar speeches in the future.
“The likelihood of that is near zero.”
Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud said he respected his colleague’s freedom of speech but denounced the comments.
“The fact that all National Party House of Representatives members sat and supported that motion is a very powerful and public message that we do not support George on this,” he told the ABC.
Mr Littleproud is comfortable with his colleague remaining in the party room “at this stage” despite Labor urging the government to sack him.
He said Mr Christensen needed to make a decision about the constructive role he played within the government and Nationals.
Mr Christensen accused sensationalist media elites and the dictatorial medical bureaucrats of spreading fear during the pandemic.
“Open society back up, restore our freedoms, end this madness,” the Dawson MP told parliament.
Nationals senator Matt Canavan disagreed with Mr Christensen on masks but backed his anti-lockdown message.
“We’ve lost a lot of our humanity through these cruel and strict, and inflexible lockdowns,” Senator Canavan told the Nine Network.
“The sooner we move away from that – that dramatic policy response – the better.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison should have directly named Mr Christensen in parliament.
“It was like Voldemort from Harry Potter. He was the person who couldn’t be named. Now, that’s not leadership. Leadership is calling it out,” Mr Albanese told 2SM radio.
Earlier in the year, independent MP Craig Kelly left the Liberals to sit on the cross bench after controversy over his fervent promotion of unproven virus treatments.