Mining magnate Clive Palmer has said he will financially back Australian Federal MP Craig Kelly in his lawsuit against Facebook after the politician was de-platformed following posts supporting alternative treatments for COVID-19.
Kelly had been completely removed from Facebook and Instagram for “misinformation” after sharing peer-reviewed papers by medical experts supporting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, which is not approved in Australia.
The Member of Parliament requested the House of Representatives to launch an investigation into Facebook’s actions for the breach of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987—which was rejected, forcing Kelly to sue the social media platform independently.
The act defines an offence as: “conduct (including the use of words) does not constitute an offence against a House unless it amounts, or is intended or likely to amount, to an improper interference… with the free performance by a member or the member’s duties as a member.”
“It’s just an appalling state of affairs that a foreign entity like Facebook would censor an Australian elected Member of Parliament,” Kelly previously told The Epoch Times.
Kelly plans to sue for defamation and breach of contract but said the expensive lawsuit would be impossible without external help.
“The cost of legal actions against a company like Facebook is beyond our legal resources,” Kelly told The Epoch Times. “Such a legal case would require several million dollars.”
According to Kelly, Palmer—billionaire and founder of the United Australia Party—had told him he supported his lawsuit and would be happy to bankroll the campaign.
“No agreement has been struck so far, but we’re finalizing the details because we believe it’s very important that Facebook is held to account,” Kelly said.
“I don’t want a cent out of it for myself. I just want to make sure that these principles are protected and freedom of speech is protected because we cannot have foreign corporations intimidating Australian Members of Parliament and trying to put restrictions upon what they say.”
Palmer said he would also be supporting Kelly’s next election campaign, where the Federal MP had been forced to stand as an independent after the Australian Liberal Party disendorsed him for his stance on hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
“In this critical time in our nation’s future, it is more important than ever that we have some independent leadership, and Craig Kelly is a person of great integrity,” Palmer told The Australian.
“My admiration for Craig Kelly stems from the courage he has got. Courage is one of the rarest things in political life today, and it is good to see someone who has the conviction to stand up for what he believes in.
“Without taking a side on any debate, in Australia, we do believe in people’s right to be able to speak up for what they think is right. It is certainly the responsibility for any member of parliament to have a conscience to fight for his electorate rather than his party,” Palmer said.
Head of law at Sheridan Institute and former law reform commissioner Augusto Zimmermann said that Kelly had sufficient grounds to challenge Facebook for both defamation and breach of contract.
“I think he has grounds because, in defamation, the name of the person has to be clearly expressed,” Zimmermann told The Epoch Times. “It was very clear that he was the target of censorship and defamation.”
Zimmermann also said that Facebook could, in fact, be in breach of its contract since the takedown was under the pretext of misinformation, something he says Kelly had not done.
“They are claiming that the information that he was providing is misleading when he actually was basing his comments on the reports of even some very prominent members of the medical academic profession,” Zimmermann added. “He was even citing articles that were subject to blind peer-review publication.”
Some of Kelly’s posts included links to research paper aggregation websites for hydroxychloroquine has ivermectin, which combined lists hundreds of studies performed on the drugs in the treatment of COVID-19, the majority of which are peer-reviewed.
Kelly had said that Facebook provided no information regarding which posts, in particular, were in violation of their contract and defended his posts as him simply sharing the opinion of medical professionals internationally.
“I’m quoting a doctor or a medical specialist that has a different opinion from another doctor or medical specialist. That doesn’t make it misinformation; that makes it an alternative opinion,” Kelly said.
“A society where Facebook are the arbiters of truth is a very dangerous society.”