A federal MP who had to apologize for trolling two of his constituents online has sparked anger by going back in a social media post.
Pressure is mounting on Scott Morrison to remove Andrew Laming, the Liberal National Party member for Bowman, amid allegations that he was hiding in bushes to take a photo of one of the women.
“In this climate – I would like to apologize – I didn’t even know what for at 4pm when I did it,” Mr. Laming wrote in a Facebook post, which has since been deleted.
Mr. Laming had to apologize after saying on Facebook to a charity worker, Alix Russo, “Sorry for you, I make the rules and you follow them.”
Ms. Russo, a single mother who said she had become suicidal because of the trolls, told Nine News, “I want to be alive, I don’t want to be attacked again.”
‘This man has to stop. He cannot continue to abuse his community in this way. ‘
Queensland MP Andrew Laming claimed in a now-deleted Facebook post that he didn’t even know what he was apologizing for – and accompanied his comment with smiling emojis
Screenshots of Mr Laming’s now-deleted Facebook post laughing at the apologies he had offered to Alix Russo and Sheena Hewlett in parliament
Sheena Hewlett, a schoolteacher, said Mr. Laming – who was elected to the federal parliament in 2004 – asked for her class schedule and then hid in the bushes taking pictures of her in 2019. The incidents were reported to the police.
Mr. Laming’s social media response to his own apology was accompanied by several smiling emojis – which he claimed were accidentally posted from his phone when he put it in his pocket. news.com.au reported.
“Andrew Laming is not fit to become a Member of Parliament,” Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanian said on Twitter Friday night.
‘If the prime minister wants to assist him, that’s his business … this guy doesn’t belong in our country’s parliament. ‘
When asked Saturday if he, Mr Laming, was ‘fit to work as a liberal,’ Mr Morrison said it was a matter for the LNP Queensland division.
Ms Hewlett has also said she complained about Mr Laming ‘numerous times’, both under the leadership of Mr Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull, The Australian reported.
Retired former Member of Parliament Tony Windsor added his voice to an avalanche of calls on social media to remove Mr Laming from office.
Mr. Laming accused Alix Russo (left) of embezzling money at a homeless charity, while Sheena Hewlett (right) said she was forced to contact the police after claiming Mr. Laming was in the bushes and took pictures of her in a public park.
“Now that Andrew Laming has lightened up his apologies and your directions to apologize to Scott Morrison, you have two options: fire him or call the police to investigate his behavior.”
A screenshot of one of Andrew Laming’s online comments to charity worker Alix Russo
The fact that he thinks it’s all a bit of a joke leaves you no alternative. Lead.’
On Twitter, Mr Laming was trending with the hashtag #SackLaming which was also popular.
“I contacted some Liberal National party folks I know in Queensland and said, ‘Is this guy a real bastard?” Said Ray Hadley, 2 GB radio host, on the air.
And they answered yes, he is. He is, ”Hadley said.
Mr Laming apologized for disturbing Ms Russo and Ms Hewlett in a speech in Parliament on Thursday.
It came after it was dragged to the prime minister’s office, admitting that his social media commentary had caused significant problems for two of his constituents’ highly regarded individuals.
He also apologized to the women in writing.
“His comments were unacceptable to both women and the prime minister,” said a spokesman for the prime minister’s cabinet.
“Every Australian has the right to feel safe online and Mr. Laming is committed to changing his online communication practices.”
Scott Morrison is coming under severe pressure to remove Andrew Laming from office after the Queensland MP apologized to two women for trolling them.
A statement by Mr Laming on Thursday, in which he issued ‘an unconditional public apology’
The Facebook exchanges led to allegations of defamation, stealing and stalking, with one of the women claiming she felt suicidal.
“I want to express my regret and deeply apologize for the pain and suffering the communication may have caused,” Mr. Laming apologizes.
“I want to retract those comments and offer a public, unconditional apology.”
The underhanded Liberal National Party, which is regularly criticized for his behavior and comments on social media, acknowledged that he had lessons to learn about his word usage.
“I have made a concerted effort to understand the impact of these responses on others and demonstrate a marked change in the way I communicate,” he said.
“I want to say to anyone who has received correspondence from me that does not meet what they expect from a Member of Parliament that I intend to internalize that failure and apologize without hesitation.”
Liberal MP Andrew Laming (pictured) was forced to apologize to the two Brisbane women who accused him of online abuse – but she later cleared the apologies
Mr. Morrison had demanded that Mr. Laming stop using social media to troll the women.
“At the request of the prime minister, Bowman’s member has offered an unconditional public apology,” said a spokesman for the prime minister’s cabinet.
In a Facebook post, Mr. Laming accused Ms. Russo, a single mother, of embezzling money at a homeless charity.
‘You cannot be trusted with others’ (sic) money. That’s why your organization is drying up, ‘Mr Laming claimed on Facebook.
Ms. Hewlett said she was forced to contact the police after claiming that Mr. Laming hid in the bushes and took photos of her in a public park, which were later posted to Facebook.
Ms. Hewlett, a teacher, also claimed that Mr. Laming had called the school where she works, asking what her work schedule is.
“I certainly fear my family,” said Mrs. Hewlett.
Andrew Laming has been contacted for comment.
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