Senators representing the Coalition government on a media diversity committee have defended a debunked COVID-19 treatment circulated by far right commentators.
On Tuesday, two coalition senators defended ivermectin as a reputable drug for humans during additional media hearings, which were sparked following YouTube's takedown of SkyNews content due to misinformation claims.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who is the chair of the committee said it is deeply concerning senators representing the government were questioning witnesses to try and defend conspiracy theories, in an inquiry partly set up to address the spread of misinformation by media outlets during the pandemic.
"I think it's incredibly irresponsible of the Prime Minister to let his government be represented in this way," Ms Hanson-Young told the Canberra Times.
"Three government MPs, participating in this inquiry were doing the bidding of these conspiracy theories and defending them, and running a protection racket for those who promote them."
Country Liberal Senator Sam McMahon and Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick defended the drug commonly used as an anti-parasite medicine for horses, when questioning former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
"Ivermectin has been used all around the world for many years to treat billions and billions of livestock, pets and humans," said Ms McMahon, who is a qualified vet.
The defence of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 cures is one of the reasons SkyNews was suspended from YouTube for seven days in July.
Last week, Mr Rudd called out SkyNews commentator and former senator Cory Bernardi for tweeting "Ivermectin will set you free", which is understood to have set off the right-wing conservative faction of the coalition.
Ms McMahon said the tweet made no link that ivermectin was an effective COVID-19 treatment.
However, Mr Rudd said the tweet was part of the context of the pandemic which is currently gripping Australia and posing a huge health risk for number of communities.
"You know perfectly well that Mr Bernardi was referring to ivermectin in terms of setting people free in the broad context of the current debate of the effective treatments of Covid-19," Mr Rudd said in response.
Mr Rennick claimed Mr Rudd and the left were seeking to "demonise" the broader use of Ivermectin.
SkyNews chief executive Paul Whittaker said Mr Bernardi's private tweet was "inappropriate" and did not reflect the views of the network.
It is understood, Mr Bernardi has been counselled by SkyNews and its parent company News Corp Australia over the tweet.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration says ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are not treatments for COVID-19, flagging both as "insufficient" in evidence and "dangerous to your health".
Ms Hanson-Young said Monday's hearing was about misinformation in the context of the pandemic.
"The context was COVID-19 and conspiracy theories and promotion of health measures that are in fact harmful and discredited," she said.
Ms Hanson-Young also noted evidence provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, showed the regulator had no power to censure false information produced by broadcasters.
The current inquiry was sparked after a petition led by Mr Rudd and backed by former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, called for a royal commission into media concentration and garnered more than half a million signatures.
Mr Rudd's push for a royal commission is to cast a magnifying over the control the Murdoch press in the Australian media market.
"The core reason we need a royal commission in Australia ... is we have the highest concentration of print ownership for a modern democracy in the world," Mr Rudd said.
"It is atypical and abnormal what we have in Australia."
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