Federal MP Craig Kelly has resigned from the Liberal Party, following months of scrutiny over his Facebook posts about conspiracy theories and medical misinformation.
On Tuesday morning, the rogue MP reportedly told the Coalition party room that he was resigning from the party and would move to the cross bench.
“I need to be true to my conscience but will support confidence, supply and procedural motions,” he reported told the room.
This comes after intensified pressure over Kelly’s promotion of disproven and unproven COVID-19 drugs, denying climate change and other fringe conspiracy theories.
Gizmodo recently reported he was banned from posting to Facebook for sharing medical misinformation. He claimed that it was for a week — but the has yet to regain privileges two weeks later.
Kelly already faced formidable primary challenges in the Liberal Party for his seat, and was reportedly unlikely to be the party’s candidate for the next election.
In an interview with Gizmodo last week, Craig Kelly claimed he was confident he would be pre-selected.
“It’s supposed to be the party of free speech. I think I should be. That’s the principle of the party. I’m standing up for the party. I’ve already been shown that I’m correct. Every day there’s more evidence to show that I’m correct,” he said over the phone.
Politically, this is going to be a shambles. Losing Kelly means that the government will technically be a minority government, meaning that every single vote in the House of Representatives will need every single member.
But more importantly, this all but guarantees that Kelly will be out of Parliament after the next election, even if he stands as a National.
The seat that Kelly has been in is a safe Liberal seat. However, recent polling showed that Kelly’s posting was making him unpopular with the majority of Liberal voters.
Whoever the Liberal Party’s next candidate will be will likely win the seat. And good riddance. Kelly has used his enormous platform and title to spread potentially harmful misinformation during a public health crisis.
In the not too distant future, Craig Kelly will probably have all the time in the world to conduct “independent research” on Facebook — just no longer from the cushy office in Parliament house.