Federal Opposition calls for Craig Kelly reprimand over hydroxychloroquine speech in Parliament

Craig Kelly.
Craig Kelly.

There are fresh calls for federal MP for Hughes Craig Kelly to be censured over his support for the use of a controversial drug to treat COVID-19 patients, after he raised the matter in Federal Parliament this week.

Mr Kelly, whose Facebook page contains numerous posts about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine, gave a 10-minute speech about its use in Parliament on Tuesday night, during which he blamed "group think" and "media bias" for not using the drug to treat COVID patients.

He said the "big hand of government" was interfering with the doctor-patient relationship by not allowing hydroxychloroquine to be used to save the lives of patients.

It came after he suggested earlier this month that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews could be criminally liable for blocking the use of the drug to treat COVID-19 patients in that state.

He said in a social media post that Mr Andrews "and others" could be liable for industrial manslaughter "for continuing to ban hydroxychloroquine".

"There is a special place in hell awaiting those that have been part of the war on hydroxychloroquine for poltical [sic] reasons. They have the blood of tens of thousands on their hands," Mr Kelly said in his social media post.

It is the second time he has used Parliament to speak in favour of the drug.

His opinion goes against widespread medical opinion that the drug is not a cure for COVID-19.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose seat of Cook borders Hughes, refused to censure Mr Kelly for his earlier comments.

But the Federal Opposition has now stepped up its calls for Mr Kelly to be reprimanded.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said yesterday that Mr Kelly's speech arguing that people should be able to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 goes against "all the medical evidence [that] says that using hydroxychloroquine is no better than any other standard treatment and in fact it is potentially dangerous".

"Labor moved a motion in Parliament asking the government to pull Craig Kelly into line, to follow the advice of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and unbelievably, the government voted against it," she said.

"What's even more surprising is that the Health Minister (Greg Hunt) voted against our motion that said we should follow the advice of the scientists and the medical experts when it comes to fighting COVID-19, not the advice of Craig Kelly."

Ms Plibersek said she was concerned that MPs would soon be using Parliament to argue against vaccination, 5G and other "crazy conspiracy theories".

"We need a government that is more responsible when it comes to medical advice. Let's listen to the doctors and the scientists, not the member for Hughes," she said.