Liberal MP Andrew Laming has backflipped in court action over social media posts published in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election after seeking legal advice.
The Australian Electoral Commission has taken Dr Laming to the Federal Court accusing him of contravening commonwealth requirements by publishing material under a “Redland Hospital: Let’s fight for fair funding” Facebook page without adequately disclosing his political links.
The court heard earlier this month that Dr Laming had agreed to a statement of facts while not legally represented.
But in a case management hearing on Monday, Dr Laming’s barrister Douglas Wilson said the MP wanted to withdraw some admissions, while others were to remain as agreed.
Mr Wilson said one witness – an expert in how Facebook operates — may be called to give evidence at a hearing or would produce an affidavit.
“There is no contest on the facts, it is simply a liability issue,” he said.
The hearing to decide on liability is set to be held on June 16.
“In general form what the parties are proposing is that the respondent file a response to the concise statement and that there be an opportunity to file a reply to that and that the respondent intends to file some evidence,” Australian government solicitor Steven Forrest said.
Justice Darryl Rangiah asked the lawyers to try to resolve any objections before the hearing.
“Not knowing enough about the matter, it doesn’t seem from what the parties have said to be a particularly complex matter at least factually,” he said.