Queensland MP Andrew Laming has decided not to contest the next federal election after being embroiled in distasteful social media behaviour against women.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said after speaking to the prime minister on Saturday Mr Laming has decided not to stand again in his seat of Bowman as a member of the LNP party.
“His behaviour has been absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
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Asked whether Mr Laming should stand down immediately, the treasurer said: “No.”
“He continues to serve in his constituents in the parliament.”
If Mr Laming were to leave straight away, it would leave the government in a minority.
Mr Laming on Saturday said he would step down from all parliamentary roles to undergo counselling.
He will return to parliament on May 11 when the budget is handed down.
Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud was asked on Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program whether Mr Laming was just retaining his position because it would throw the government into minority if he was kicked out.
“With respect, I don’t think that’s the case,” Mr Littleproud replied.
“It’s about making sure we do the right thing.”
At least two Liberal female politicians will be happy with Mr Laming’s decision.
Liberal MP Katie Allen said what Mr Laming has been doing is completely outrageous and it would appear that 17 years in parliament is getting to him.
“I really think he needs to have a pretty serious look about whether he will recontest the next general election,” Dr Allen told ABC’s Insiders program earlier in the day.
Asked whether she was comfortable with Mr Laming being in the party room, Senator Sarah Henderson told the program: “I’m not comfortable with the conduct and I hope that Andrew makes the right decision.”
After weeks of sex scandals that have rocked the Morrison government, female Liberal politicians are beginning to speak out about the toxic nature of the house of lawmaking.
“I think for all women in the Liberal Party, we are pretty angry but I do want to make the point that there are many men in our party who are also disgusted and very angry about what has happened,” Senator Henderson said.
“It is an historic opportunity to get this right and to address the things that are not right for women, not just in Parliament House, but across the country.”
Alcohol and drug testing of ministers was thrown up in the Insiders’ discussion as ideas to try to improve the culture.
The Nationals at this weekend’s national conference agreed to undergo behavioural training and coaching in how to deal with the complaints that have dogged the political agenda in recent weeks.
“We can all learn how to do this better, so what we said is, if we get these complaints we would like to have a process that is world’s best,” Mr Littleproud said.
© AAP 2021