Politicians and right-wing parties have spent the final days of the election launching a fear campaign that Australia is about to cede sovereignty under a World Health Organization (WHO) treaty ).
Since early May, international conspiracy theorists have been spreading misinformation that a plan to update WHO’s international health regulations would allow it to unilaterally declare global lockdowns. Several experts have said AAP FactCheck That’s False.
This conspiracy theory was planted here by political parties hoping to revitalize anti-vaccine sentiment and fears of community confinement. After months of betting on vaccination mandates and security as a ticket to electoral success, the United Australia Party of Clive Palmer and Craig Kelly pivoted hard to this fearmongering.
Guardian Australia reported for the first time that the billionaire mining tycoon’s party had splashed full-page ads claiming that the major parties want to transfer “all our health assets and hospitals to the Chinese-controlled WHO”.
Facebook’s Political Ads Database also shows the party spent $20,000-25,000 this week promoting a Facebook ad to one million people with the same message, targeting people in NSW and Victoria. . People also took to social media to say they were receiving text messages with the same content.
Other politicians and parties have also spread this on Facebook. One Nation has been the loudest voice on this, with several posts from Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts and George Christensen this week promoting the conspiracy theory with thousands of engagements.
Earlier this week, Coalition Senator Alex Antic released a letter he wrote calling on Foreign Secretary Marise Payne to vote against the proposed amendments. This was also shared by Senator Gerard Rennick, who continued to promote vaccine injury content on his Facebook.
Other candidates for parties associated with the freedom and anti-vaccine movements have also promoted this, including the Informed Medical Options Party, the Australian Federation Party and various conspiratorial independents.
There is evidence to suggest there is growing interest in this conspiracy theory. Of the 107,000 engagements on Facebook in Australia mentioning “pandemic treaty”, 85,000 have come so far this week, according to social media analytics tool CrowdTangle. Search traffic for the The World Health Organization is at its highest in 90 days. Research The “pandemic treaty” exceeds the “costs” today.