News Controversial Liberal MP Andrew Laming denies being a troll

Controversial Liberal MP Andrew Laming denies being a troll

Andrew Laming is back in Parliament after taking leave to seek counselling and empathy training. Photo: AAP
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An unrepentant Andrew Laming has sensationally claimed he is the victim of character assassinations and his conduct towards women has been misrepresented.

The embattled Liberal backbencher has also brushed off an earlier promise to stand down from all parliamentary positions.

Dr Laming has returned to federal Parliament after taking a month of paid leave to seek counselling and empathy training.

He continues to claim stalking and harassment accusations levelled against him are not true.

“Legitimate political questions I have asked online of opposition state MPs has been characterised as stalking,” Dr Laming told Parliament on Tuesday.

“A photograph taken of my own wife playing with our family has been misrepresented as stalking and hiding in the bushes in a park where there are no bushes.”

The Queensland politician also defended taking a photograph of a woman without her consent while she was bent over with her underwear exposed.

“An utterly, utterly entirely appropriate and innocent workplace photograph with no offence found whatsoever after police investigation has been characterised as lewd,” Dr Laming said.

He continues to deny harassing two female constituents online for several years, despite issuing a public apology for his behaviour in late March.

“The work I have done on Facebook responding to the comments of others has been characterised as harassment,” the Bowman MP said.

“To refer to me and misrepresent me as a taxpayer-funded troll for my online work – with all posts remaining online, visible and public – is a misrepresentation and reflection on my character.”

Dr Laming said six weeks ago he would resign from all parliamentary positions with immediate effect.

However, Dr Laming has refused to resign as chair of a parliamentary committee on employment, education and training, which adds $23,000 to his annual salary.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke blasted his refusal to stand down from the committee after Question Time, saying Dr Laming had a long history of trolling and abuse.

“After everything we heard about the Member for Bowman over the break, we get back here and nothing has changed,” Mr Burke told the lower house.

“Why was it important he would resign immediately? Because the Member for Bowman is not fit to be a member of this Parliament.

“And this government is relying on the tainted vote of the Member for Bowman to retain any majority in this place.”

Dr Laming has since clarified he only committed to standing down from all parliamentary roles during his period of medical leave.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains under pressure to expel Dr Laming from the Coalition party room, but has so far resisted the widespread calls because it would strip his government of its majority in the lower house.

Dr Laming is set to retire from politics at the next election.

He is expected to pocket a taxpayer-funded resettlement payment of $105,600 after being formally disendorsed by the Coalition for the safe Queensland seat.

-AAP