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Credibility, like integrity, is something that you build over time through actions, not words.

That’s a problem for this prime minister, particularly when it comes to fringe conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies. This is a prime minister who always seems to be conspiracy adjacent, a PM who always seems to want weirdos in the room with him.

Last night’s Four Corners episode told Australians about a member of the prime minister’s inner circle who believes the world is run by a cabal of paedophiles, a very creepy individual who has bragged about his influence over this prime minister while posting photos house-sitting at Kirribilli, all while his family has become so concerned about his bizarre extremist views that they have reported him repeatedly to the national security hotline.

The prime minister took great offence at this journalistic accountability, but his protests lack credibility after his refusal to condemn the attacks on the US Capitol building earlier this year, when he opportunistically took the side of the QAnon shaman against the defenders of democracy around the world.

His protests lack credibility after years of playing footsy with the crank conspiracy ravings of his party room, principally from the members for Hughes and Dawson and from Senators Canavan and Rennick.

The PM has done nothing to shut down conspiracies being run by coalition MPs on Covid-19, on climate change, even on Dan Andrews’s back. This isn’t just a Canberra-bubble issue.

This prime minister’s crank-curious tendencies have real world consequences for the Australian public. They are undermining the Covid-19 rollout and he deserves to do better.

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