Rogue Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who is under fire for spreading virus conspiracies on Facebook, has repeatedly quoted a doctor who attended last week’s deadly US riot.
Five people died during an assault on Washington’s Capitol building last week, as pro-Trump supporters attempted to prevent politicians rubberstamping Joe Biden’s election win.
Among them was anti-vax physician Dr Simone Gold, who has questioned the official COVID-19 death rates in the US, rejected the effectiveness of social distancing in containing the disease, and warned Americans not to receive a vaccine.
She has also touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus, despite the US Food and Drug Administration warning it “showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery” and came with significant side-effects.
Coalition backbencher Craig Kelly has cited Dr Gold twice in Facebook posts while also advocating for the unproven treatment.
In one from October, Mr Kelly quoted her as saying masks had no effect on the spread of the disease, accusing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of launching a “reign of terror” for mandating them.
Mr Kelly has since claimed mandating masks in schools should be criminalised, comparing it to child abuse.
He has also peddled unsubstantiated claims that Antifa, Neo-Fascists and Marxists co-ordinated the Capitol hill attack as a “false flag”, an event designed to pin blame on a rival party.
Dr Gold has admitted being present after appearing in Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted pictures, but claimed not to realise rioters were breaking the law, according to The Washington Post.
Video also showed her delivering a speech inside the Capitol building during the insurrection.
But Mr Kelly rebuffed suggestions the revelation undermined her credibility.
“If (she) has engaged in trespass or other unlawful activities, she should face the consequences of her actions,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“However, that is a separate matter to what medical opinions she may hold, as a direct result from her working as a doctor on the front lines, successfully treating COVID patients.”
Dr Gold treated COVID-19 patients until mid-2020 and she claimed she was fired for administering hydroxychloroquine, The Intercept reported.
She conceded regret at attending the rally, but insisted what she saw was “incredibly peaceful”.
A police officer was killed during the attack, while video showed another being beaten with flagpoles.
Explosives were found undetonated outside the Democratic and Republican National Committee rooms.
Insurrectionists were also heard chanting “Hang (US Vice President) Mike Pence” during the siege, while two men have been arrested after carrying zip ties, used to restrained prisoners, into the building.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to rebuke Mr Kelly over the comments, but Labor health spokesman Chris Bowen has urged him to pull the backbencher into line.
“Sadly this is hardly surprising given the nonsense Craig Kelly has been spouting,” he said.
“Where is the leadership from Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt on Kelly’s dangerous misinformation and conspiracy medical theories?
“We’re in a pandemic and somehow this doesn’t rate high enough for Morrison or Hunt to call out.”