The Liberal MP for the southern Sydney seat of Hughes – next door to the prime minister’s own seat – resigned from the party this afternoon, joining the cross-bench. Kelly has for months been a nuisance to the government because of his increasingly noisy comments about Covid-19 treatments, face masks and vaccines.
“Dear Prime Minster [sic],” Kelly began his resignation letter. “If I’m to continue to act in line with my conscious [sic] and principles…I have no alternative other than to resign as a member of the Liberal Party.” He went on to liken Morrison to a sports captain, before adding, “I also tender by [sic] resignation effective immediately as Chair and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement, and my positions on the both the [sic] House Economics Committee and the Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources Committee.”
Kelly’s downhill slide has been underway for some time. In January, he initially called the storming of the US Capitol “a small group of protesters overdoing it.” He then went on to describe it in a Facebook post as “a highly-coordinated ‘false flag’ operation.”
Things accelerated this month after Facebook banned him for a week. The decision followed two posts about unproven coronavirus treatment, plus one that described wearing face masks as merely “virtue signalling.”
He also appeared on the podcast of disgraced former celebrity chef Pete Evans, who inexplicably called Kelly “beautiful” and “beyond courageous.” Subsequently, Kelly was criticised by Dr Karen Price, head of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, for enabling Evans to “peddle false information.” Among other things, Evans has been selling a $15,000 lamp-like object which he calls a “subtle energy platform” as a treatment for Covid-19.
Through it all, Kelly has proven impervious to the criticism, calling it “a disgraceful beat-up from the opposition.” Last month, he told Sky News, “Anthony Albanese, the ABC, GetUp and the Guardian … should get down on their knees and apologise to the Australian public.”
Morrison initially defended Kelly’s comments as “free speech.” However, the seasoned PR operator sensed the tide turning and publicly censured Kelly two weeks ago.
Kelly has now left, like a dog with his tail between his legs and “the heaviest of hearts,” as he put it in his resignation letter addressed to Morrison. “I sincerely hope that you will go on to be one of Australia’s greatest and longest serving Prime Ministers,” he concluded.
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