A myth busting unit was established within the Department of Home Affairs in cooperation with the Health Department to tackle misinformation.
On February 28, 2021, Australia's Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, addressed a press conference where he gave updates on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and the arrival of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. In the same conference, he added that a myth-busting team under the collective effort of the Departments of Home Affairs and Health was "quietly" founded in 2020 after concerns were raised about COVID-19 misinformation spreading quickly.
An Australian news and entertainment website, News.com.au, reported that the Department of Home Affairs assembled thirty health specialists in 2020 to combat high-profile Australians like chef Pete Evans and actor Isabel Lucas who spread false information about COVID-19.
After a recent health department study revealed that 27 percent of Australians are still hesitant to get vaccinated, the team focused on debunking conspiracy theories in an attempt to dispel public mistrust of the vaccine, which could lead to lower vaccination rates.
The team keeps checks on the spread of false information on social media. It uses various tactics to prevent the spread, including engaging directly with social media platforms, responding to online posts, and arranging briefings with well-known editors and reporters.
The Guardian reports that Hunt said, "Some of these anti-vaxxers are peddling, frankly, false and clearly irresponsible views. Whether it is about 5G and Bill Gates and mind control – ludicrous, ludicrous things."
He added, "We don't want to give too much air to some of the silliest ideas but we do want to provide public reassurance [we are] combatting the misinformation on those ideas which would in any way falsely have some impact on public confidence."