Prime Minister accused of ‘lack of leadership’ after George Christensen calls for embassy protests against COVID-19 restrictions


The acting Nationals chief has said party backbench MP George Christensen should be sentenced for supporting comments comparing Australia’s COVID-19 health measures to Auschwitz and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

David Littleproud said he attempted to contact Mr Christensen this morning to ask him to think about his judgment in deciding to appear on a far-right conspiracy theorist’s web series in the United States, where the comments have been made.

“I have to say that as a national party we have to condemn – we respect its right to free speech. But with that comes a responsibility,” said Mr Littleproud, who leads the party as Chief Barnaby Joyce is overseas.

“We want to work constructively with George, but know that there are limits and there are limits that we, as federal politicians, must adhere to.

“He’s a respected member of the party hall, and we want to have a conversation with him about respecting the party hall.”

Mr Christensen, who is retiring in the next election, has been a frequent and vocal critic of pandemic controls, posting extensively on social media to voice his opposition to lockdowns and vaccinations.

Last month, he used a speech in the federal parliament to compare state and territory restrictions on COVID-19 on totalitarian regimes in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, calling for civil disobedience as a response.

His latest comments were posted on the Infowars web series hosted by far-right American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has been widely banned from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for violating the speech policies of hatred.

During the 35-minute video show, Mr Christensen urged viewers to demonstrate outside Australian embassies.

In one case, Mr Christensen laughed when Jones compared Australia’s COVID-19 quarantine facilities to those at Auschwitz because they both had “large fences.”

In another, Mr Jones described footage of the police presence at anti-vaccination protests across the country as the “Australian version of Tiananmen Square”, a 1989 massacre in which the People’s Liberation Army of China opened fire on unarmed protesters.

Mr Christensen replied: “Yeah, I think the good news is that we have so many citizen journalists right now… bringing the truth to people.”

A bespectacled man wearing a navy blue suit, white shirt and pale blue tie talking with a tree trunk and leaves in the background
David Littleproud says the Nationals condemn George Christensen’s comments.(PAA: Richard Walker)

Mr Littleproud said comparing the quarantine facilities at Auschwitz was “a step too far”.

“Obviously, George is on the far end of most traditional Australia thinking, but it’s a point of view that should have the opportunity to be broadcast in any democratic society,” he said. he declares.

“But it has to be broadcast responsibly.

Littleproud said parliamentarians have a responsibility to be careful about what they say “not just in the mainstream media, but also in the dark corners of the Internet”.

“I condemn his comments, and I think it was an error in judgment on his part to participate in this program.”

Labor say Christensen’s comments a failure of Morrison’s leadership

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers has said Prime Minister Scott Morrison urgently needs to put the brakes on Mr Christensen.

“These are dangerous opinions held by dangerous people and Scott Morrison has nothing to say about it,” he said.

Former Nationals chief Michael McCormack took aim at the comments of his backbench colleague, accusing him of fueling COVID-19 fears across the country at a time when there was a “need to come back to pre-COVID normality “.

“He criticized everything about our nation… it’s not helpful,” Mr. McCormack said.

“Running your own country like this is one step too far.”

Mr McCormack was particularly offended by the comparison between the COVID-19 quarantine facilities and the Auschwitz concentration camp, describing them as the “most appalling” comments in the interview.

“They are far from this hell,” he said.

Mr McCormack said questions about why coalition leaders, and Barnaby Joyce in particular, did not bring him into compliance were matters of discussion.

Neither Mr Christensen’s office nor the Prime Minister’s office responded to the CBA’s request for comment.

The office of Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Nationals Barnaby Joyce said he was in the UK and was not available for comment.

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