Aboriginal elders, health organisations and frontline workers in the Australia’s Northern Territory’s Covid outbreak have lashed out at false information about public health measures on social media, with the NT chief minister blaming the misinformation on “tinfoil hat wearing tossers, sitting in their parents’ basements in Florida”.
Over the past few days false claims have been circulating online that Aboriginal people from Binjari and Rockhole were being forcibly removed from their homes and taken to enforced quarantine in Howard Springs, and people including children were being forcibly vaccinated.
None of these claims are true, according to the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), the local Aboriginal health services and community leaders.
On Thursday, the chief minister, Michael Gunner, laid into “conspiracy theorists” online, blaming overseas groups for the misinformation.
“Hello to all the conspiracy theorists overseas watching this. Please get a life,” Gunner told a media briefing on Thursday.
“There are ridiculous, untrue rumours about the ADF’s involvement. As we all know, they aren’t carrying weapons – they are carrying fresh food for people.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine-nine per cent of the BS that is flying around on the internet about the Territory is coming from flogs outside the Territory – mostly America, Canada and the UK, people who have nothing better to do than make up lies about us because their own lives are so small and so sad.
“If anybody thinks that we are going to be distracted or intimidated by tinfoil hat wearing tossers, sitting in their parents’ basements in Florida, then you do not know us Territorians,” he said.
Read more here from our Indigenous affairs editor Lorena Allam: ‘Tinfoil hat wearing tossers’: NT chief minister and Aboriginal elders hit back at Covid ‘false information’