Australia’s Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has blasted social media giants for kicking Donald Trump off their platforms.
The US President has been removed from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after posting messages the technology giants said could encourage violence, following an insurrection by a mob of his supporters.
Asked if Mr Trump helped incite the riot at the US Capitol on January 7, Mr McCormack said the President’s social media comments were unfortunate, as was his refusal to accept the outcome of the US election.
But Mr McCormack said it should not be up to Big Tech to decide whose voices were heard.
“I don’t believe in that sort of censorship,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship.”
However, Mr McCormack acknowledged social media companies were within their rights to close accounts.
“That’s a matter for Twitter, they’ve made that call, they’ve got a company, they’ve got a business to run, and they’ve made that decision,” he said.
Mr McCormack would not be drawn on whether Mr Trump should be removed from office before his term ends on January 20.
But he did apply a distinctly Australian lens to the riots at Capitol Hill.
“These are unfortunate events and of course many people don’t remember how you rode the horse, they remember how you dismount the horse, and it is unfortunate this has occurred,” he said.
“But as far as Donald Trump and his presidency is concerned, and the last few days of his administration, well that’s entirely a matter for the United States of America.”
Queensland MP George Christensen is among several federal government backbenchers using social media to peddle misinformation being spread by supporters of Mr Trump.
But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, a senior member of the leadership team, refused to censure him.
“George Christensen will make decisions he is accountable for,” Mr Frydenberg told the ABC.
“He is a member of the Coalition, he is a good local member for his constituency.”
Mr Frydenberg said Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke for the whole country and the government in expressing disgust about what happened in Washington DC.
“Horrible, horrible images, and that attack on the beacon of democracy, the Congress,” he said.
“Peaceful demonstrations are the way, whether it’s in the United States or here in Australia.”