Andrew Laming

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Andrew Laming
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bowman
In office
9 October 2004 – 11 April 2022
Preceded byCon Sciacca
Succeeded byHenry Pike
Personal details
Born (1966-09-30) 30 September 1966 (age 55)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia[1]
Political partyLiberal National
Spouse(s)Olesja Baturevica
Children2
Alma mater
OccupationPolitician
ProfessionOphthalmic surgeon
Websitewww.andrewlaming.com.au

Andrew Charles Laming (born 30 September 1966) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Bowman, Queensland, for the Liberal National Party of Queensland from 2004 to 2022. He sat with the Liberal Party in federal parliament.

Laming was a medical practitioner and a management consultant before entering politics. He is the son of former Queensland state Liberal MP Bruce Laming, who held the seat of Mooloolah from 1992 until 2001, and served as Deputy Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.[2]

Education and early career[edit]

Laming was educated at the Anglican Church Grammar School.[3] He studied medicine at the University of Queensland and is a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists. He also holds a Diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, a Master of Public Policy from Charles Darwin University and a Master of Philosophy in Public Health from the University of Sydney. He has worked in public health, economics, ophthalmology.[4][5]

After graduating from the University of Queensland in 1990,[4] Laming worked as a rural GP in Gundagai, New South Wales, and the rural Queensland towns of Goondiwindi, Mungindi, Dirranbandi and St George. In 1991, he researched anterior cruciate ligament injuries at the Perisher ski fields. In 1992, he worked as a gym manager and rigger in South Africa[5] as well as three months in Afghanistan clearing land mines with the British charity Halo Trust[6] and doing basic war surgery with the International Council of the Red Cross in Kabul.[7][8] He continued obstetric training in 1993 with a diploma of obstetrics in Bromley and Farnborough Hospital in the UK.[4]

Laming worked in the Northern Territory community of Lajamanu in 1995, combining ophthalmic surgery training and public health.[9] As part of a Master of Philosophy in Public Health, he was the principal researcher in evaluating single dose azithromycin for mass treatment of trachoma. This treatment became standard practice partly as a result of Laming's research.[10] He conducted eye disease surveys across the top end as an ophthalmic registrar and co-founded "RedANT" – Australia's first mobile eye disease database, earning a Master of Public Policy from Charles Darwin University in 2000.[9]

In 1999, Laming established FIDO – Friends In Deed Organisation – while completing ophthalmology training at Sydney Eye Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital. FIDO was Australia's first internet-based volunteering service which partners skilled volunteers with not-for-profit organisations. Fido is now operated by The Centre for Volunteering in New South Wales and in 2006 it became known as Fido Skilled Volunteer Search.[11]

In 2000, while studying for a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Laming was one of three people who established the now annual Kennedy School Review.[12][5] He co-authored Let's Go Turkey in 2001 before joining the World Bank Group's Health Nutrition and Population section in Washington DC.[5] He then worked with the East Timor Transitional Authority as Health Planning Specialist as the country's health system was rebuilt.[13][14]

At the 2001 federal election, Laming unsuccessfully challenged Con Sciacca in the federal seat of Bowman.[15][16]

In 2002, Laming was employed as then Health Minister Kay Patterson's medical and public health advisor, then worked as an ophthalmologist, and a public sector consultant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.[9][17]

Laming is one of seven Liberal MPs in the 46th Parliament of Australia who have obtained degrees at an Oxbridge or Ivy League university, the others being Alan Tudge, Angus Taylor, Josh Frydenberg, Dave Sharma, Greg Hunt and Paul Fletcher.[18]

Parliamentary career[edit]

After the 2004 federal redistribution in Queensland, Sciacca nominated for the newly created seat of Bonner, which contained historically safe Labor areas formerly in Bowman, and Laming secured the now notionally Liberal seat of Bowman, centred on Redland City.[19]

In his first parliamentary term, Laming was appointed to represent the government on the UNESCO National Commission and in 2005, he participated in the International Election Observer Mission as an observer of the election of Bougainville's first autonomous government.[20]

In 2006, he was a contributor to the debate on a bill to lift the ban on the "abortion pill" RU486. He said that while undergoing post-graduate training in obstetrics and gynaecology in London, he was required to perform late-term abortions which he found "harrowing".[21] He introduced an amendment to the bill, which would give Parliament a right of veto over the quasi-autonomous government drug regulator – the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). He failed to win support for the amendment and ultimately supported the bill.[22][23]

At the 2007 federal election, it initially appeared on election night as if Laming had lost Bowman to Labor rival Jason Young on a large swing. However, counting of pre-poll votes which progressed over the next couple of weeks placed Laming marginally ahead, and the Australian Electoral Commission eventually declared him the winner on a 0.04-point margin – just 64 votes ahead – having suffered a two-party-preferred swing of 8.86 points, compared with the Queensland state average of 7.53 points.[24][25]

At the 2010 federal election, Laming was re-elected to the seat of Bowman with a swing of more than 10 points.[26] He was subsequently promoted to the position of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health and onto the front bench.[27] Through this shadow portfolio, Laming was critical of the Government's handling of intervention in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.[28]

Throughout his political career, Laming has served on a number of parliamentary committees. These include the House of Representative's Standing Committee on Communications, Information Technology and the Arts from 2004 to 2007, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit from 2004 to 2007, the House of Representative's Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 2006 to 2010, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in 2007, and the House of Representative's Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations in 2008.[5]

In May 2013, Laming announced that he would maintain his registration as an eye specialist by applying to the newly constituted AHPRA; stating that this would give him the opportunity to volunteer in Aboriginal communities to perform eye exams and screen for disease to save surgeons time.[29] The Medical Board of Australia granted Laming six time extensions to complete the required paperwork and an unsuccessful application leading to an order to pay the Medical Board's legal costs, Laming's second AHPRA application was successful.[30]

In 2006, Laming supported reform of the PBS, but his proposed changes caused backlash from the Pharmacy Guild.[31]

In 2018, he supported Peter Dutton's calls to treat white South African farmers as refugees.[32] Laming's support of the bill has been linked to a view expounded by the NSW Young Nationals used to influence the party to adopt alt-right views in a report[33] by the ABC.[34] The attempt to prioritise white South African farmers, who are sometimes targets of attacks, above other humanitarian crises at the time was labelled as "'dog-whistling' to racist voters" by opponents of the bill.[35]

Controversies[edit]

In 2007, Laming and fellow Queensland Liberal MPs, Gary Hardgrave and Ross Vasta, were investigated and subsequently cleared of breaches relating to parliamentary entitlements. This included A$67,000 for printing campaign material and Laming's five-day employment of a staff member who worked in the office of Hardgrave. There was speculation in the media and the Queensland Parliament that funds had been diverted to the Liberals' 2006 state election campaign.[36] On 2 March 2007, the Australian Federal Police conducted a search on the three MPs' electoral offices as well as those of a printing company and a graphic artist.[37][38] Laming described the incident as a "routine visit".[39]

On 13 August, Ross Vasta was cleared and Gary Hardgrave was cleared on 11 September.[40] Vasta had admitted making an "administrative error" during the investigation, and repaid nearly $24,000.[41] On 28 September 2007, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions announced that there were not "reasonable prospects of conviction for a criminal offence against Dr Laming", effectively clearing him.[42][43]

In January 2013, in response to clashes between groups of Indigenous Australians and Pacific Islanders in Logan, Queensland, Laming twice posted the following statement on Twitter: "Mobs tearing up Logan tonight. Did any of them do a day's work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?"[44] The federal Labor ministers Penny Wong and Craig Emerson subsequently criticised Laming's post, with Emerson calling it "disgraceful and inflammatory", while fellow Liberal and shadow Minister Greg Hunt stated that there was a need to be cautious about commenting on the clashes. Laming later posted another tweet which stated "To clarify: Working together to resolve these riots the priority. Training and a chance for jobs are key". The acting opposition leader Warren Truss told reporters that Laming "has got to take responsibility for his own actions. He's done that by correcting the tweet".[44]

On Australia Day in 2014, at a barbecue in his electorate of Bowman, Laming sculled a beer while performing a handstand, attracting significant media attention.[45] The stunt was criticised as attention seeking, prompting then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott to comment that "it wouldn't be how I would choose to celebrate Australia Day",[46] while a witness at the barbecue stated that they were "a little bit surprised when he did it, but in the context of the party it was OK". Earlier that week, Laming voiced opposition to reduced licensing hours for drinking establishments, using Facebook to post: "Why should idiots remove my right to stay out late celebrating a special occasion?"[47]

In March 2015, Laming was suspended from Parliament for 24 hours by the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop for bringing a jar of blackfuel into the Parliament House chamber and pouring it out onto his hand, in protest at the pollution left by cruise ship liners. Bishop said "In his remarks the member himself acknowledged the dangerous nature of the material, setting aside the member's own offence in making use of props it is highly disorderly to bring dangerous and flammable substances into each of the chambers. I consider the member's actions to be totally disorderly, disrespectful of the House and the Federation Chamber and potentially dangerous to the health and safety of members and staff of the Federation Chamber".[48][49][50]

He gained notoriety in December 2016 when he spent eleven hours on the comment section of Facebook page 'The Simpsons Against the Liberals' after they published a meme making fun of his proposal to stop hiring PE teachers. This spawned a large amount of media attention, especially regarding his use of curious phrases such as 'mashing lefties'.[51][52]

On 23 January 2021, Laming made a Facebook post suggesting that Indigenous Australians were petrol sniffers. He has since claimed that posting "Deny it's Australia Day. That'll help petrol sniffing and school attendance in remote Australia" was not racist.[53]

In March 2021, it was reported that Laming had repeatedly made abusive posts on Facebook targeting two women, with one of the women stating that he had been doing so for six years. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Laming to apologise for this in parliament before the story was broadcast, which he did.[54] As part of his apology Laming stated that the women are "highly regarded individuals within our Redland community",[55] though in a subsequent exchange he reportedly said that "In this climate – I willingly apologise – I didn't even know what for at 4pm when I did it."[56][57] On 27 March, after a third woman accused him of misconduct, Laming issued a statement saying, "I will step down from all Parliamentary roles effective immediately and complete both the counselling courses I committed to; as well as additional clinical counselling."[58][59] The following day, Laming announced that he would not stand for re-election.[60] However, he did not withdraw his nomination for preselection after his announcement.[61] On 12 April 2021, he was disendorsed by the LNP, making him eligible for a taxpayer-funded 'resettlement payment' of six months' salary, amounting to $105,600.[62][63][64]

On 6 April 2021, Guardian Australia reported that Laming had set up and operated around 35 Facebook pages, supposedly for community groups and suburbs in his electorate, which he allegedly used to promote political material and attack political opponents, seemingly in contravention of Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) rules requiring political authorisation for information intended to influence how electors vote.[65] On 7 April, the AEC confirmed it was investigating the Facebook pages regarding their lack of authorisation disclosure.[66]

In March 2022, the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, which audits the travel and expenses of Members of Parliament to ensure they meet parliamentary standards, ordered Laming to repay over $10,000 for travel expenses he claimed in 2019. Laming refused to pay back the money and claimed that the relevant emails proving the purpose of his travel were 'lost'.[67]

Publications[edit]

  • Laming, A.C., Currie B., Mathews J.D., "Azithromycin and trachoma; the first three months", The Northern Territory Communicable Diseases Bulletin, NT Department of Health and Community Services, 1995.
  • Laming, A.C., et al. "Trachoma six months after the first azithromycin program in Australia", The Northern Territory Communicable Diseases Bulletin, NT Department of Health and Community Services, 1995; 2:1–3
  • Laming, A.C., "Azithromycin Trachoma Evaluation Group", Central Australian Rural Practitioners Association, 1995, Number 20.
  • Laming, A.C., "Afghanistan tragedy: war, public health and human suffering", Australian Family Physician, 1995, 24: 2191–5.
  • Laming, A.C., Martin F.J., "Right problem, wrong solution; Medical provider number restriction", ANZ Journal of Ophthalmology, 1997, 25: 5–6.
  • Laming, A.C., Leach A.J., et al., "A prospective study of azithromycin treatment of trachoma on carriage and resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae", Clinical Infectious Diseases, 1997, 24: 356–62.
  • Laming, A.C., Hallsworth PG, "Chlamydial detection in trachoma". Medical Journal of Australia, 13 February 1999.
  • Laming, A.C. (founding editor), Livesey F., Lyman L., Kennedy School Review, Harvard University, 2000, LCCN 00-190974.
  • Laming, A.C., et al. "A targeted single-dose azithromycin strategy for trachoma", Medical Journal of Australia, April 2000.
  • Laming, A.C., (co-author) Let's Go Turkey, St Martin's Press, 2001.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bowman – Australia Votes 2016
  2. ^ Schubert, Misha, "Man who leads the pill charge", The Age, 15 February 2006.
  3. ^ Mason, James (2011). Churchie: The Centenary Register. Brisbane, Australia: The Anglican Church Grammar School. ISBN 978-0-646-55807-3.
  4. ^ a b c "Health Practitioner: Dr Andrew Charles Laming". AHPRA. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Mr Andrew Laming MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Laming meets Redlanders in Middle East". Redland City Bulletin. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  7. ^ Hall, Eleanor, Andrew Laming delivers maiden speech to Parliament, The World Today, 16 December 2004
  8. ^ The Conversation Hour, 26 October 2006, Richard Fidler, in Federal Government Broadcast Alerts, Media Monitors Australia
  9. ^ a b c Charles Darwin Symposium Series 2005 Archived 25 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, 20:20 Vision: Facing health challenges of the next 20 years, Menzies School of Health Research, 31 May – 1 June 2005
  10. ^ Annual and Quinquennial Report, Volume 1 Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory, 1997–1998.
  11. ^ History Archived 18 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Fido skilled volunteer search, matching skilled volunteers with not-for-profit organisations
  12. ^ "Celebrating 15 Years: The 2015 Print Issue". Harvard Kennedy School Review. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Tony Abbott ministry: meet the new team running the country". ABC News. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  14. ^ About Andrew Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine, www.andrewlaming.com.
  15. ^ Australian Electoral Commission. (2001) "QLD : Bowman (Post Election Results)" 2001 Election Results. Accessed on 29 July 2008.
  16. ^ Australian Electoral Commission (2002), "Two Party Preferred Statistics by Division" in Election 2001: Election Results. (cdrom) ISBN 0-642-50181-5 reports the most marginal Labor-held seats in Australia as Bowman 51.42%, Stirling (WA) 51.58% and Hasluck (WA) 51.78%.
  17. ^ Heywood, Lachlan, "Liberal keen to reverse ban on therapeutic cloning", The Courier-Mail, 18 August 2006
  18. ^ "Pathways to Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  19. ^ House of Representatives Division First Preferences, Australian Electoral Commission, Election 2004, 9 November 2005
  20. ^ Bougainville Peace Process: History of the Peace Process Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  21. ^ Maiden, Samantha, "Harrowing' abortions sway doctor MP", The Australian, 16 February 2006.
  22. ^ Liberal MP calls for greater scrutiny of abortion pill risks - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  23. ^ Franklin, Matthew, Clarke, Suzanna, "Not so hard to swallow", The Courier-Mail, 18 February 2006.
  24. ^ Bennett, Scott; Barber, Stephen, Commonwealth Election 2007 Archived 13 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Department of Parliamentary Services, 8 May 2008, no.30, 2007–08, 1834-9854.
  25. ^ Australian Electoral Commission. (2001) "QLD Division – Bowman" Election 2007: The official election results.. Accessed on 31 July 2008.
  26. ^ "Sweet victory as Laming-ten creams 'em". Bayside Bulletin. Fairfax Digital. 23 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  27. ^ "Front bench for Laming". Bayside Bulletin. Fairfax Digital. 16 September 2010. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  28. ^ Laming, Andrew (30 June 2011). "More talk, no action in Indigenous affairs". On Line Opinion. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  29. ^ Jabour, Bridie (11 May 2013). "Laming to re-register as a specialist". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  30. ^ Atfield, Cameron (24 August 2013). "Laming ordered to pay legal costs in re-registration battle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  31. ^ Ross, Monique (20 June 2019). "Ever wondered why we don't have pharmacies in supermarkets? It's because of this powerful lobby". ABC News. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  32. ^ "Conservative push to resettle 'persecuted' white South African farmers gains momentum". www.abc.net.au. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  33. ^ Mann, Alex (24 January 2021). "Manifesto reveals alt-right's plans to go mainstream after 'infiltration' of NSW Young Nationals". The Conversation. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  34. ^ Ross, Kaz (24 January 2021). "How believers in 'white genocide' are spreading their hate-filled message in Australia". The Conversation. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  35. ^ Brown, Kyle, and Elton-Pym, James (12 April 2018). "Hundreds beg for white South African farmers to get refugee visas". SBS News. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  36. ^ Marriner, Cosima (6 March 2007). "Three Lib MPs raided over use of print funds". The Age. Melbourne. p. 9. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  37. ^ "Federal Police raid Liberal MPs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  38. ^ "Qld Liberal MPs deny wrongdoing after police raids". ABC News. Australia. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.[permanent dead link]
  39. ^ "Police raid routine, says Liberal MP". Herald Sun. 6 March 2007. Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
  40. ^ Fraser, Andrew (29 September 2007). "Third MP clear in police inquiry". The Australian. p. 2. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  41. ^ Butler, Nicole (11 September 2007). "Two Qld Liberal MPs cleared of rorts". PM. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  42. ^ "Laming cleared of printing allowance fraud allegations". ABC News. Australia. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  43. ^ "re Dr Laming MP". Media Release. Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  44. ^ a b Cullen, Simon (15 January 2013). "MP's tweet on racial tensions 'disgraceful and callous'". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  45. ^ Killen, Sandra (28 January 2014). "Federal MP Andrew Laming crashed my Australia Day party, skolled a beer and stunned us all". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  46. ^ Ireland, Judith (1 February 2014). "There's no harm in Andrew Laming's handstand beer stunt". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  47. ^ "Upside down MP: Andrew Laming photographed skolling beer while doing handstand at Australia Day party". news.com.au. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  48. ^ Griffiths, Emma (26 March 2015). "Andrew Laming ejected from Parliament after pouring fuel on himself in chamber". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  49. ^ Bourke, Latika (25 March 2015). "Liberal MP Andrew Laming kicked out of Parliament for 24 hours for bringing fuel into the Federation Chamber". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  50. ^ Scarr, Lanai (25 March 2015). "Queensland MP Andrew Laming poured bunker fuel over himself in Federation Chamber". news.com.au. Australia. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  51. ^ Esposito, Brad, An Australian Politician Lost His Absolute Shit At A “Simpsons” Meme Page, Buzzfeed, 5 December 2016
  52. ^ Quaggin, Lucy, Queensland MP Andrew Laming Spent The Weekend At War With A Simpsons Meme Page, Huffington Post, 5 December 2016
  53. ^ Staff, 9News (24 January 2021). "MP defends 'petrol sniffing' Australia Day post saying it wasn't racist". Channel9. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  54. ^ Karp, Paul (26 March 2021). "Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming accused of online harassment by state Labor MP Kim Richards". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  55. ^ Le May, Rebecca (25 March 2021). "Liberal MP Andrew Laming apologises in parliament after allegedly abusing two women online". The Australian. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  56. ^ "Liberal MP makes light of his 'unreserved apology' over online abuse". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  57. ^ Maiden, Samantha; McHugh, Finn (27 March 2021). "Andrew Laming: Queensland MP laughs off grovelling apology". news.com.au. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  58. ^ "Federal Coalition MP Andrew Laming steps down from parliamentary roles". 9 News. 27 March 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  59. ^ "Andrew Laming: MP 'steps away from duties' amid harassment complaints". BBC News. 27 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  60. ^ Gooley, Cameron (28 March 2021). "Liberal MP Andrew Laming to quit politics at next election, Josh Frydenberg says". ABC News. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  61. ^ Lynch, Lydia (12 April 2021). "'Get their hands dirty': Laming to force LNP to drop him". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  62. ^ "Queensland's Liberal National Party blocks Andrew Laming from recontesting seat". ABC News. 12 April 2021.
  63. ^ "Queensland LNP disendorses Andrew Laming ahead of next federal election". SBS News. 13 April 2021.
  64. ^ "Andrew Laming blocked from recontesting next election after backflip on pledge to quit politics". the Guardian. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  65. ^ "Liberal MP Andrew Laming created dozens of Facebook pages to promote LNP and attack opponents". The Guardian. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  66. ^ "Electoral watchdog to investigate Liberal MP Andrew Laming over dozens of Facebook pages". SBS News. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  67. ^ Atfield, Cameron (30 March 2022). "'I'm not paying back a cent': Laming refuses to repay $10k in travel expenses". The Age. Retrieved 15 May 2022.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Bowman
2004–2022
Succeeded by
TBD