Conspiracy cook Pete Evans eyes politics

·2-min read

Controversial celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans has joined forces with a bankrupt politician to run for federal parliament.

Evans will stand as a Senate candidate for a fringe party set up by former One Nation senator Rod Culleton.

"Pete Evans has maintained his principles and inspired others in the face of uncommon adversity," Mr Culleton said in a statement on Friday.

"Pete Evans has consistently demonstrated courage in exposing matters of public information and interest, provoking much needed debate despite personal cost to himself.

"Pete possesses the essential attributes required to challenge the status quo and restore the rule of law as defined in our constitution."

The Great Australian Party has been registered by former One Nation president Ian John Nelson.

The micro party wants to overhaul the judicial system and redesign the separation of powers, making parliament the ultimate court of appeal.

It also wants to reform the tax system, crack down on foreign investment and promote religious education "based on facts".

The party ran five candidates at the last federal election and secured a total of about 5300 votes.

Evans has become known for sharing anti-vaxxer views and discredited coronavirus cures.

He was booted off Facebook in December for posting misinformation about the pandemic after being fined by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for claiming a lamp could cure coronavirus.

He was also dumped by a string of sponsors and from a reality television show after sharing a neo-Nazi image.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked whether Evans making a run for the Senate would undermine confidence in Australia's vaccine rollout.

"No," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Morrison shut down a second question about whether he was concerned.

"That all depends how much publicity you choose to give him. I'm not going to give him any, so I don't propose you do that," he said.

Mr Culleton was booted from parliament in 2016 after the Federal Court found he was bankrupt.

The following year, the High Court ruled him ineligible to run as a senator due to a larceny charge in NSW.

Simon Birmingham, the leader of the government in the Senate, is not thrilled by the remote prospect of sharing a chamber with Evans.

"I trust the Australian people to make sure that's not the case," he told Sky News.

"I think that Australians have little tolerance for some of the types of views that Pete Evans has pushed in the past. And I'm sure Australians will elect more sensible people to the Australian Senate at the next election."