Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Former MP’s ‘self-flattering’ Facebook page costs him $20k

A former Queensland MP who anonymously ran a local social media page for self-promotion purposes has been heavily criticised by the Federal Court for deceptive and “misleading” misconduct.

user iconNaomi Neilson 10 August 2023 Big Law
expand image

Andrew Laming, former MP for the seat of Bowman, was ordered to pay the Electoral Commission $20,000 for three Facebook posts on the “Redland Hospital: Let’s fight for fair funding” page, which he had been an administrator of before and after the May 2019 elections.

As the posts did not include his name and the town or city he lived in, Mr Laming breached the Commonwealth Electoral Act, Federal Court Justice Darryl Rangiah ruled on Wednesday (9 August) morning.

In the first post in issue, posted on 24 December 2018, Mr Laming referred to himself in the third person – purporting to be someone else – to “fact check” and praise his official announcement that he had boosted the Redland Hospital’s funding to $77 million.


Justice Rangiah said this first post was “particularly serious”.

“It was not merely a case of Mr Laming omitting to notify his name and relevant town or city, but a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that he was its author. Misleading conduct of that kind strikes at the core of the integrity of our electoral system,” he said.

Justice Rangiah found the post – which was seen by only six people – had been written in the third person because Mr Laming believed “his self-flattery is more likely to be accepted by viewers as true and his achievement admirable” if it appeared to come from someone else.

“I am persuaded by the lengths he went to in perpetrating the deception that his predominant purpose was self-promotion.

“If his predominant purpose was to communicate the funding boost, he would have done so without the deception,” Justice Rangiah said.

The second and third posts, which were admitted by Mr Laming, referred to the funding from both the Liberal and Labor parties for the Metro South Health and made several financial comparisons.

On the second day of the hearings, Mr Laming terminated his lawyers’ retainers and chose to represent himself.

Before he did so, his lawyers had prepared written submissions and had given oral submissions on the first date. Justice Rangiah found Mr Laming had “relied substantially” on those submissions.

“In these circumstances, I consider it appropriate and fair to acknowledge that the submissions made by his lawyers were considered, thorough and skilled,” Justice Rangiah said.

It is understood Mr Laming intends to appeal the decision.