The effect is more pronounced when it comes to the number of “shares” Mr Kelly’s content receives. Since July 1, his posts have been shared 447,000 times – nearly six times more than Mr Morrison’s 81,000 shares, and more than three times Mr Albanese’s 128,500 shares.
The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age collated the data using the analytics tool CrowdTangle.
Carrington Brigham, managing director of digital at communications agency Agenda C, said Mr Kelly had “cultivated a multi-conservative following” including One Nation voters and “extreme conservatives”.
“He does this with rich meme content that is stimulating, share-able and attractive to his base voters’ inherent views on particular polemic issues such as climate change, political correctness and President Trump,” said Mr Brigham, who formerly worked for Liberal-aligned research firm Crosby Textor.
“He cherry-picks the content that reinforces those views with these audiences, and they are then motivated to engage and share across their own social networks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
By contrast, Mr Morrison’s Facebook page provided public service announcement content seeking to inform “rather than engage with empathy and campaign”, Mr Brigham said.
“He’s pushing content to voters but not engaging like Kelly is. The PM’s media team bears in mind that he talks to the whole electorate on social media – not just the ‘quiet Australians’, minorities and others. He’s talking to all existing and potential Liberal voters.”
In recent days Mr Kelly has used his Facebook page to accuse the ABC of covering up vital information about Indian Ocean surface temperatures, claim that experts have dismissed a link between bushfires and climate change as “absolute rubbish”, and rail against “religious voodoo science believed by climate alarmists”.
Mr Kelly’s sensational interview with Good Morning Britain prompted Mr Morrison on Thursday to warn backbench MPs during a phone conference there was no need for them to undertake interviews with foreign media.
Co-host Laura Tobin, the network’s weather presenter and meteorologist, labelled Mr Kelly a “climate denier” during the interview. Mr Kelly then called her an “ignorant pommy weather girl” in a Facebook post he later deleted.
Mr Kelly formerly chaired the government’s backbench committee on energy policy and was a strident critic of then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee.
He used social media and frequent appearances on Sky News to criticise the policy, and was part of a group of MPs who used the NEG to call for the removal of Mr Turnbull in favour of Peter Dutton as prime minister.
Michael Koziol is a political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.