Federal MP Laming reveals ADHD diagnosis

·3-min read

Andrew Laming says he's been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder after the prime minister forced him to apologise for harassing women online and made him undertake empathy training.

The federal MP says he had "no idea" ADHD could be an adult condition even though he is a trained medical doctor and there is a history of the condition in his family.

Dr Laming is about to return to work after being ordered to take a month of medical leave to seek help, including training to improve his ability to understand and be aware of his own actions.

He said his diagnosis was "not an excuse" but it helped explain some of his behaviour.

Two weeks ago, the Liberal National Party took formal action to make sure the veteran MP could not recontest his Brisbane-based seat.

That followed a horror month that saw Dr Laming forced to apologise in parliament after two female constituents accused him of abusing them online. One said the abuse left her suicidal.

He was also accused of taking a photograph of a woman bending over in her workplace without her consent, while her underwear was visible. Police investigated the matter but no action was taken. Dr Laming denied any inappropriate behaviour.

On Wednesday, Dr Laming said he had no idea that ADHD was a condition that could follow people into adulthood, and he'd experienced immediate relief after going onto medication after his recent diagnosis.

"I've learnt you don't learn everything at medical school," he told Sky News.

"I had some rough idea it persists into teens ... but I never knew one per cent of Australians live with it into adulthood."

He said his diagnosis and treatment had taken an enormous weight off his family, and those working in his electorate office who "bore the brunt of it, made up for me, cut me slack".

And his condition - "sometimes a super power, and sometimes a curse" - meant he could finally concentrate, finally be present for entire conversations, and sit still long enough to play a board game with his daughters.

He had also said he clearly had a social media addiction, giving up time with his family so he could relentlessly post comments on community pages.

Dr Laming said he'd use his remaining time in parliament to make sure other adult sufferers of ADHD understood it was a treatable condition.

Labor's Penny Wong said she did not see the ADHD diagnosis as any sort of justification for the MPs conduct.

"I ... haven't seen people use the diagnosis as a justification or rationalisation of these sorts of behaviours - of what appeared to be a persistent pattern of harassment that has been described," she told the ABC.

In late March, the MP apologised in parliament for harassing two prominent women from his electorate over several years, including questioning whether one of them might be loading up her personal credit card with money meant for charity.

But in the wake of the apology he went on Facebook to say he did not know what he was apologising for.

Scott Morrison later ordered him to seek help, including empathy training, saying he wanted to see "a very significant change in his behaviour".