Australians across the country are complaining about being bombarded with spam text messages from controversial MP Craig Kelly, and you may soon receive one too. In fact, reporters at Starts at 60 have even received one!
Former Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who recently joined Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, is sending out unsolicited messages to voters. The text message in question reads “You can never trust the Liberals, Labor or Greens again. Authorised by Craig Kelly, United Australia Party” before it redirects you to the United Australia Party website.
Furious Aussies have since taken to social media to criticise the controversial MP — who has in recent months come under fire for sharing misinformation about Covid-19 online, such as alternative treatments to the virus — with Twitter user @gr100325 questioning: “He is spamming everyone and not only politicians. Where has he got my contact details? Surely it’s a privacy breach.”
And @souwalker added: “I received one about an hour ago. Said to myself … WTF??”
Kelly has since defended his text message antics, saying he was “absolutely not” sorry and the practice was “100 per cent legal”.
“If they’re concerned about Australians privacy, they should be standing up and calling for an end to vaccine passports,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I find it a bit ironic that people are upset about their privacy by getting a text message, but by the same token, they’re absolutely silent about Australians having to show their health records before they could go and get a job across the state border.”
Kelly later told The New Daily he had not bought a list of phone numbers, but rather had sent the messages using a random number selector.
There’s no purchasing of contact lists,” Kelly said. “People are asking if someone sold their private information. It’s just a random number selector.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Media and Communications Authority (AMCA) said as of Friday, it had received more than 300 complaints about Kelly’s text messages, but unfortunately political parties are exempt from most requirements under the Spam Act.
“ACMA is aware of text messages received by some Australians today from the United Australia Party,” ACMA said in a tweet on Friday. “Messages from political parties, independent members of parliament (phone calls only), government bodies and registered charities are exempt from most spam and telemarketing rules.
“Calls, emails or SMS that are not commercial—that is, they don’t offer, advertise or promote goods or services—are generally allowed. This means if an email or SMS is not commercial, the sender does not need your permission to send you a message.”