Queensland’s Liberal National Party has blocked backbencher Andrew Laming from recontesting the Brisbane seat of Bowman in the next federal election.
A party spokesperson said Dr Laming’s candidacy for preselection was denied after he fronted the party’s applicant review committee on Monday.
“The LNP’s state executive has accepted the ARC’s recommendation that Dr Laming not proceed as a candidate and has reopened nominations for the seat of Bowman,” he said.
Dr Laming did not officially withdraw his nomination for preselection following harassment allegations.
In March, the backbencher agreed to leave his long-held seat at the next federal election and apologised in parliament over claims he harassed two prominent constituents on social media.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been under pressure to sack Dr Laming but instead ordered him to take leave and undergo empathy training and counselling to improve his “disgraceful” behaviour.
When Dr Laming later announced he would not contest the next poll, Mr Morrison said he’d done a “quite significant” thing in walking away from his political career.
But Dr Laming failed to formally withdraw his preselection nomination. That forced the LNP’s Application Review Committee to formally block him on Monday night.
State LNP leader David Crisafulli backed the committee’s decision, noting Dr Laming’s commitments about his political career.
Asked if it was a bad look for the prime minister to have been ignored, Mr Crisafulli said: “The prime minister has said to Dr Laming what he expects, and I would hope Dr Laming follows suit.”
The veteran MP is on medical leave for empathy training and counselling after harassment allegations involving female constituents came to light.
Dr Laming apologised in Parliament before the harassment stories went to air on Nine News in late March and has since quit all parliamentary roles.
Earlier in April, Queensland police cleared Dr Laming over allegations he inappropriately photographed a woman while she was bending over to fill up a fridge at a landscaping supplies business in Brisbane in 2019.
The Australian Electoral Commission is also investigating Dr Laming for potential breaches of electoral law after The Guardian reported he was behind more than 30 pages that pushed out Coalition messaging under the guise of community news groups.
The LNP’s decision not to back Dr Laming as a candidate could mean he benefits financially.
Under parliamentary rules, MPs who involuntarily retire after failing to win re-endorsement “for reasons other than misconduct” are eligible to receive a resettlement allowance.
In Dr Laming’s case, that’s worth $105,600, but it’s unclear yet if he will be eligible.