Police receive formal Laming complaint

·3-min read

Queensland police are looking into allegations against federal politician Andrew Laming, after a formal complaint was made.

Dr Laming took a photo of a woman in 2019 as she bent over at a landscaping supply business and her underwear was exposed.

He has not denied taking the photo without the woman's consent but says there was nothing untoward.

The woman spoke to police on Monday, and on Tuesday lodged a formal complaint.

The complaint will now be assessed by police.

Dr Laming is also under fire after admitting to bullying, stalking and harassing women over several years.

The 54-year-old has been given a month of paid medical leave to seek counselling and empathy training.

But he intends to rejoin the coalition party room upon his return and remain in parliament until the next election.

Scott Morrison is resisting pressure to expel the disgraced backbencher because it would plunge the coalition into minority government.

Mr Morrison seems confident the member for Bowman will return to work a changed man.

"He needs to come back with a completely different attitude and completely different behaviour," the prime minister told reporters.

Cabinet minister Karen Andrews said Dr Laming's behaviour was completely unacceptable and could not be rationalised or covered up.

Ms Andrews admitted Dr Laming showed no signs of contrition.

But she too is willing to accept him back into the coalition party room.

"He is a member of the Liberal National Party, he is also the elected member for Bowman," Ms Andrews told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Challenged on whether Dr Laming could sit on the crossbench instead, the minister replied: "He could probably do a lot of things."

"The strongest signal that he's given is that he's not going to recontest the election," Ms Andrews said.

Despite taking medical leave and demanding privacy, Dr Laming took part in a radio interview on Monday to defend his abhorrent behaviour.

He said the photograph was taken of a kneeling woman in a "completely dignified" position, and that his years-long abuse of at least two constituents had been "reinvented" as harassment.

Dr Laming said sorry in parliament for the online abuse, but later shrugged off his apology.

Minister for Women Marise Payne claimed Dr Laming had "taken responsibility for his actions".

"I hope it shows to others who would seek to engage in this sort of activity that it is completely unacceptable and that it must change," she told Nine.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has taken a starkly different approach towards a disgraced state Nationals backbencher, who offered a sex worker $1000 for sex inside Parliament House.

He has called on Michael Johnsen to quit parliament immediately, even if it threatens the coalition's majority.

"I'd rather do the right thing than worry about majority government," Mr Barilaro said.

Federal Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten highlighted the precarious position of the Morrison government.

"Once again the coalition is effectively a minority government," the former opposition leader told the party's online national conference.

"One more scandal, one more boneheaded disgrace, one more backbench troll sent off to study how to impersonate being a human being and Morrison will have lost control of the government altogether."