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Blame wars: MP accepts responsibility for 'Gillard in kitchen' furore

Date

Daniel Hurst and Conal Hanna

A screenshot of Andrew Laming's Facebook page this week with some of the groups he's a fan of highlighted.

A screenshot of Andrew Laming's Facebook page this week with some of the groups he's a fan of highlighted.

Update: Federal Coalition MP Andrew Laming says he takes full responsibility for the 'liking' of a sexist Facebook page about Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

brisbanetimes.com.au this morning reported that Mr Laming had "blamed his staff" for liking the page: “How's Julia Gillard going to run the country from the kitchen?” on his Facebook page.

The Oxford Dictionary defines 'blame' as "assign fault or responsibility to; assign the responsibility for (an error or wrong) to a person".

A screenshot taken from Andrew Laming's Facebook page this week, showing some of the groups he's a fan of.

A screenshot taken from Andrew Laming's Facebook page this week, showing some of the groups he's a fan of.

While Mr Laming told brisbanetimes.com.au yesterday, and again this morning, that it was a staff member who had committed the "error", he rang the website's office this morning to stress he was not trying to deny responsibility for the page.

"It is my 100 per cent responsibility," Mr Laming said.

"There is no 'blame'."

LNP MP Andrew Laming has blamed his staff for liking a sexist Facebook page about Julia Gillard.

LNP MP Andrew Laming has blamed his staff for liking a sexist Facebook page about Julia Gillard.

Mr Laming, who this morning posted a link to the brisbanetimes.com.au story on his Facebook page, said he had received as much negative feedback about apportioning blame over the incident as the original mistake, and he didn't want people to think he was shirking responsibility.

The Federal Member for Bowman, east of Brisbane, said his office had clear procedures around engaging with social media pages, which meant that offensive pages should be ignored but satirical pages were OK.

He said the page about Ms Gillard should have been identified as "offensive".

"I admit I've erred," he said.

While the page in question no longer appears on Mr Laming's official Facebook page's list of “likes”, several other inflammatory ones remain including "I HATE JULIA GILLARD" and "Julia Gillard should be taxed for the carbon dioxide she breathes out".

Mr Laming, the shadow parliamentary secretary for regional health services and indigenous health, told critics on his Facebook page the kitchen page title was indeed “sexist and dodgy”.

He told this website yesterday his staff needed to “like” the pages to post poll questions on those pages, as part of a bid to engage with constituents.

“My staff did a poll and connected with every page relating to Julia Gillard (good or bad) in order to post a poll question (and nothing more),” Mr Laming told brisbanetimes.com.au.

“They do the same with Tony Abbott pages, carbon tax pages or whatever the topic is.

“I have no interest in the pages, but think politicians should communicate with all Australians who wish to be part of civil debate. As a politician, I shouldn't scrap people because of the pages they follow.”

Mr Laming said he had one of the fastest-growing and most vigorous political Facebook pages, receiving about 1000 comments a week including remarks from supporters and critics alike.

Since the criticism, Mr Laming has also removed from Facebook page another page previously "liked" called: “Wanting to shoot yourself every time Julia Gillard talks”.

Earlier this year, Mr Laming wrote a guide for LNP MPs on how to avoid social media mistakes.

At the time, he said sensitivities remained around the way elected representatives conduct themselves on Facebook, with the benefits of cheap, instant and targeted communication “balanced by the political risk of missteps”.

It is not the first time a politician has got into hot water over social media activities.

Queensland state Labor MP Jason O'Brien drew opposition criticism in July after tweeting his relief at the end of budget scrutiny sessions: “Estimate committee meeting finished for another year. Thank f**k!”

The Liberal Party dumped David Barker as its federal candidate for the western Sydney seat of Chifley last year after he told his Facebook friends Labor was moving Australia closer to being a Muslim country and God was “on the side of the Liberal Right”.

Labor's successful candidate in the seat, Ed Husic, is a Muslim.

And earlier this year, the Queensland Party disendorsed Bundamba candidate Ray Cole for posting a comment on Twitter questioning police professionalism following the shooting of Gold Coast detective Damian Leeding.

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123 comments so far

  • Liking a page is an endorsement.

    Would he also turn up at a white supremist NAZI rally carrying a supporting placard as part of a bid to engage with constituents?

    Commenter
    Goresh
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    November 03, 2011, 7:37AM
    • Are you sure the sexist link page was not owned by Tony Abbott?

      So, you blame your employees like Qantas management, you are both headed towards the door.

      Commenter
      waterhen
      Date and time
      November 03, 2011, 7:41AM
      • @bender also coalition mp, nuff said :)

        Commenter
        jb
        Date and time
        November 03, 2011, 7:43AM
        • Aren't politicians meant to represent the community? That makes this the preverbial storm in the tea cup (pun intended).
          Nuff said really.

          Commenter
          pete
          Location
          brisbane
          Date and time
          November 03, 2011, 7:45AM
          • We need stronger border protection to stop neuron deficient Queensland MPs like Laming from getting across our borders.

            Commenter
            Justin
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            November 03, 2011, 7:48AM
            • Worked with Drew once, in another life, on another island. Interesting experience. Nuff said.

              Commenter
              Old Timer
              Location
              Dark side of the Moon
              Date and time
              November 03, 2011, 7:54AM
              • This is the mentality of the people and the party that wants to be the next leaders of our country. Hate speech, referring to Ministers as tossers, calling the PM toxic, trying incessently to make the current govt unworkable, supporting rallies laden with profanities, degrading womanhood to score cheap political points. Look at the mentality of an MP who *likes* a page that has the word *hate* how many times?? How will they treat us the voters once they would be in power? Just the same as they treat their opponents today, and at the moment that we disagree with them twice... Just the same...

                Commenter
                Mazza
                Location
                Melb
                Date and time
                November 03, 2011, 7:56AM
                • Clearly a case of the media being out of touch with technology - anyone who uses facebook often would know that you have to like pages to post on them and that this is a major compliant of major facebook users, Politicians should be getting in trouble for not liking pages such as this - they should spend more time on both sides understanding their constituents wheather they agree or not as this is their job

                  Commenter
                  Josh B
                  Date and time
                  November 03, 2011, 7:58AM
                  • What a sexist moron.

                    Commenter
                    Ladybird
                    Location
                    Brunswick East
                    Date and time
                    November 03, 2011, 7:59AM
                    • Yet another Coalition grub. No surprise really. Ironic how the conservative proselytysers and wowsers are always the ones up to the high-jinks on the side, ref: R Cameron, many US tele-evangelists. It's a bizarre form a self-hatred really.

                      Commenter
                      skifan
                      Location
                      Sydney
                      Date and time
                      November 03, 2011, 8:00AM

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