Recent revelations surrounding sociopathic bully Andrew Laming raise, or should raise, the prospect of a by-election in his seat of Bowman, located in southern bayside Brisbane and held by the LNP on a margin of 10.2%. In response to the latest news — that Laming took an upskirt photo of a young woman and then whinged that her manager was being “awkward” in demanding he delete it from his phone — the Prime Minister, who recently forced out the female chief executive of Australia Post over a couple of watches, has laid down the law: Laming’s already scheduled sessions with an “empathy consultant” will be brought forward. That at least was the impression given by last night’s report on the Nine Network, although it sounds too stupid to be true. UPDATE: Laming has stepped down from his parliamentary committee roles, and developed a sudden concern for “privacy”.
One way or another, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that won’t be the end of the matter. The Age/Herald reports that Laming’s victim, Crystal White, is considering a police complaint for an offence that carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment. A conviction for such an offence, regardless of the penalty applied, would disqualify him from parliament. While the wheels of justice may perhaps not turn quite that quickly, there will surely be irresistible pressure to force Laming out of the Liberal Party, which would cost the government its majority on the floor of parliament.
In semi-related news, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday he was “open to the idea” of Labor-style gender quotas for his party, although the notion has long been bitterly resisted within the party organisation. As Crikey’s Kishor Napier-Raman noted, the website of Queensland’s Liberal National Party, which has preselected Andrew Laming at the last six elections, boasts that its members are “elected on merit”, since it “believes in choosing the best person for the job, regardless of gender”.
In less related news, except perhaps to the extent that it was ostensibly brought about by the government’s loss of its parliamentary majority, a Tasmanian state election was called on Friday for May 1, which you can comment on here. The Western Australian election should also reach its final resolution when the buttons are pressed on the Legislative Council counts at some point in the coming days, and you can comment on that here.