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‘Horrified’: Labor MP slams own party

A Labor MP has slammed his own party over a “horrifying” tweet linking Scott Morrison to Donald Trump on the day of deadly riots in Washington DC. Labor’s official Twitter account posted an image of the Prime Minister and his US counterpart with the caption “It’s the company you keep” after pro-Trump extremists stormed Capitol…

A Labor MP has slammed his own party over a “horrifying” tweet linking Scott Morrison to Donald Trump on the day of deadly riots in Washington DC.

Labor’s official Twitter account posted an image of the Prime Minister and his US counterpart with the caption “It’s the company you keep” after pro-Trump extremists stormed Capitol Hill on Thursday.

The tweet remained publicly available as of Friday morning.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who quit shadow cabinet in November, said he was “horrified” when he first saw the post on Thursday morning.

He told ABC Radio on Friday he should have followed his instinct to call the party’s national secretary.

“The tweet recklessly sought to mix our foreign relationships with our domestic politics. That’s a breach of politics 101,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

“You can’t go seeking votes at home at the expense of our international relationship and, in this case, potentially our most important relationship.

“It’s time for the party to take down the tweet as a way of accepting it was a mistake.”

Mr Fitzgibbon said a decision on whether to remove the post would be a “test for the maturity of the party” and confirmed he had received feedback over his intervention from colleagues “at all levels”.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese distanced himself from the post on Thursday, telling 2GB Radio he was only responsible for tweets from his personal account.

Mr Fitzgibbon conceded he was not aware of how the party’s account was run, but senior officials should be in contact with the leader’s office to vet its posts.

“I am sure Anthony Albanese would not have known that tweet was going up, (but) I’m not absolutely sure someone in his office didn’t know,” he said.

“I’m putting it down as a bad mistake by a junior person, but the system has to be more robust than that. There should be a process for approving these things at the highest level.”

Mr Albanese conceded it was “always appropriate” for an Australian leader to meet with their US counterpart.

But he told 2GB Radio that Mr Morrison went beyond normal diplomatic relations by attending “what was effectively a (Trump) campaign rally” in September.

Mr Morrison faced criticism for appearing at the Ohio event despite prime ministers typically avoiding partisan events in foreign countries.

It comes as Mr Albanese demanded Coalition backbencher Craig Kelly be disendorsed for peddling baseless conspiracy theories about the Washington riot.

Mr Kelly on Thursday night suggested Marxists had co-ordinated the Capitol Hill riots as a “false flag operation” to discredit Mr Trump.

He has also touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 despite it being banned by regulators.

Mr Morrison intervened in 2019 to ensure Mr Kelly was preselected for the seat of Hughes, but Mr Albanese said the Prime Minister should “cut himself loose” from his “captain’s pick”.

“It is time for Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party to do something about this bloke in their ranks,” he told reporters on Friday.

“The idea that a member of the Australian parliament seeks to legitimise what was an insurrection … is reprehensible.

“I don’t comprehend how someone who sits in our House of Representatives can justify the storming of the United States parliament building, which is effectively what he’s done.

“Craig Kelly has promoted conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. Now we have him justifying and making … comments that are beyond belief.”

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