Liberal MP Andrew Laming’s Facebook page is offline after he downplayed his apology for allegedly bullying constituents.
Laming apologised on Thursday after allegedly harassing two prominent women from his federal electorate in eastern Brisbane over several years.
His statement in parliament came after the prime minister reprimanded the backbencher’s “disgraceful” behaviour.
However, the MP later downplayed his offering in a post on Facebook on Thursday night.
“In this climate – I willingly apologise – I didn’t even know what for at 4pm when I did it,” Laming wrote, following it up with three tongue sticking-out emojis and a heart eyes emoji.
The Morrison government holds a slender one-seat majority in the House of Representatives.
Laming’s page had disappeared from Facebook on Saturday morning.
Queensland Labor MP Don Brown suggested Laming should be dumped.
“If you aren’t fit for Facebook, you are definitely not fit for Parliament,” he tweeted.
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, was expected to enforce a “zero tolerance” approach to the rogue backbencher, who has been regularly criticised for his behaviour.
“He is very clear about my expectations,” the prime minister said on Friday.
But the federal opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said Laming had been let off lightly.
“One again Scott Morrison has got out the feather against a Liberal MP in Andrew Laming,” he told reporters on Friday. “Quite frankly, the prime minister’s response is totally inadequate, as it always is.”
Albanese said: “In my view, Andrew Laming isn’t fit to continue as a member of parliament.
“And if the Liberal party want to continue to associate themselves with him, then I look forward to campaigning with the Labor candidate in that seat.”
The episode is the latest in a crisis which has engulfed the Morrison government and started a wider debate about sexual discrimination, harassment and abuse.
The prime minister is seeking a circuit-breaker after being criticised for his tone-deaf response to a wider debate about sexual discrimination, harassment and abuse, sparked by former staffer Brittany Higgins coming forward last month to allege she was raped by a colleague in 2019.