Rogue MP’s anti-lockdown stance let slide


There will be no repercussions for a Morrison government MP who voiced his support for the widely condemned anti-lockdown movement.

Rogue backbencher George Christensen has avoided any major repercussions from the Morrison government despite attending an anti-lockdown protest.

Health Minister Greg Hunt today became the third senior member of government to decline to criticise the Queensland MP’s actions, saying he has a right to express his views.

“As the Prime Minister set out there are two things here: one is an expression of views, which I disagree with,” he said.

“So those who were in protests in Sydney, and in Melbourne, then they have breached the law and I think we should have a very strong view in relation to that.”

On Saturday, the Dawson Liberal National Party MP invited “freedom lovers” to join him in a protest in Mackay against lockdown measures, and posted in support of the widely condemned “freedom” protests in Sydney.

“Looks like thousands upon thousands of Sydneysiders are protesting against the removal of freedoms under the guise of the pandemic,” he wrote.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his deputy Barnaby Joyce have also defended the MP’s right to free speech.

On Monday, Mr Joyce said Mr Christensen was within his rights to attend the rally and refused to condemn him.

“Let‘s be real about this – everybody has the liberty to say what they want,” he told ABC radio.

“What do you want me to do, to go up there without knowing he was going to say it, to tackle him? Would that actually assist the process by reinforcing the sense you don‘t have the liberty to say what you like?”

Mr Christensen later praised Mr Joyce for not criticising his actions.

“The media tried to have Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce denounce me for supporting freedom over pandemic restrictions. Barnaby shut that suggestion down pretty quickly,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I’m not about to be imposing those sort of restrictions on people’s free speech. In Queensland, there are no lockdowns.”

Mr Christensen’s vote is critical to the Coalition government, which holds a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives.