Technology

MP enters online trolling war

A Brisbane politician has waded into the fiery world of online comment wars, slamming critics as “keyboard warriors” whose arguments for the National Broadband Network were “pathetic”.

Federal Member for Bowman and new shadow parliamentary secretary Andrew Laming took aim at two comment posters on the website of his local newspaper last week.

Member for Bowman Andrew Laming has been 'Lam-mowing' some people who comment on his local newspaper's website.
Member for Bowman Andrew Laming has been 'Lam-mowing' some people who comment on his local newspaper's website. 

The MP, who captured a 10 per cent swing for the Liberal National Party in the August 21 election, disputed claims by an anonymous reader that the government's NBN would be cheaper than the Snowy Hydro Scheme and said the commenter’s calculations were billions of dollars out.

“You just got Lam-mow'd,” Mr Laming posted on Fairfax Media's Bayside Bulletin website last week.

“Kind of a metaphor for all you NBN keyboard warriors, isn't it?”

The two critics – “Burdened” and “Chris Murphy” – responded by accusing Mr Laming of not understanding basic economics, not handling the fact he was still in opposition, and resorting to “belittling” attacks.

But Mr Laming retorted by saying the figures put forward by the pair were a “numbers flop”.

“I adore the bitter and personal [attacks] from you two, but there is little point persisting with people who can't add up let alone perform a relative value calc,” he wrote.

“So I do belittle/ridicule you two, but only 'cos you are special. Being frank and honest is part of my public service.

“See you next election gents; you had no impact on this one, because you were too timid to enter the public domain and have your ideas tested by ordinary people.

“It's called being a pea-heart – with pathetic e-contributions that one day, you will be too embarrassed to show your kids.”

The third-term MP then repeated his challenge to the critics to join him for a jog so they could discuss their views.

It's called being a pea-heart – with pathetic e-contributions that one day, you will be too embarrassed to show your kids.

Mr Laming yesterday stood by his forthright comments but said they were made in the context of long-running personal attacks on him by the bloggers in question.

He said he was not personally describing the people as pathetic but their arguments, and it was “fair enough” for him to weigh into the online debate.

“On this particular page it just became particularly nonconstructive and negative from a small number of people,” he told brisbanetimes.com.au.

Mr Laming said he was not thin-skinned. He was trying to engage in a policy debate and the best his online critics could do was present an economically flawed argument.

“It was all completely appropriate and I responded in a way that I thought was appropriate,” he said.

“In this case these are highly inelegant people that got it completely wrong; shouldn’t a politician point that out?”

Mr Laming said he had stayed out of the online debate through the election campaign but his critics had continued personal attacks and started raising figures that were wrong.

“For a guy that doesn’t even identify himself, my argument is he’s a ‘pea-heart’,” he said.

During negotiations with the balance-of-power independents to form government last month, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott promised to oversee a ''kinder, gentler polity'' if he became prime minister.

He said the spirit within Federal Parliament had been “needlessly confrontational” in recent times.

Mr Laming was this month named the Coalition's Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health.

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