Senior Nationals have condemned the appearance of government backbencher George Christensen on a conspiracy theorist’s online show where he advocated for protests on Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Appearing on Alex Jones’ InfoWars program, Mr Christensen urged demonstrators to gather outside Australian embassies to protest COVID measures.
InfoWars has been banned by Facebook and YouTube for violating hate-speech policies, with Mr Jones also making multiple false and misleading claims about the pandemic.
Nationals MP and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said he had spoken to Mr Christensen about his 30-minute appearance on the show.
“I condemn his comments and I think it was an error of judgement for him to go on that program,” Mr Littleproud told reporters in Canberra.
“I have asked him to reflect on that, and his judgement around having an interview with a US commentator that has somewhat of a chequered past.”
At one point during the interview, Mr Christensen laughed when Mr Jones compared Australia’s COVID-19 quarantine facilities to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The Queensland MP, who is retiring at the next election, previously compared COVID restrictions to the regimes of dictators Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot during a speech on the floor of parliament and also urged civil disobedience.
Mr Littleproud said he had spoken with Mr Christensen at length about his judgement for appearing on InfoWars.
“Some of my comments he agreed with, and he understands both my position and the views of the party room,” he said on Twitter.
Federal Labor have lashed out at Mr Christensen’s appearance on the program, labelling it a failure of leadership from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
However, Nationals senator Matt Canavan said he did not have a problem with Mr Christensen appearing on InfoWars.
“Just because you go on a show, doesn’t mean you agree with everything,” he told Sky News.
“People are free, of course, to protest against Australian government policies, wherever they are in the world.”