Scott Morrison's attempts to drag his government out of crisis over the treatment of women have been obliterated by the disturbing behaviour of disgraced backbencher Andrew Laming.
Dr Laming will not contest the election but will remain in the coalition party room after admitting to bullying, stalking and harassing several women.
The Queenslander is also under fire for taking a photo up a woman's skirt at her workplace, which is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison.
Dr Laming claims the photo attempted to show someone trying to fit an impossible amount of stock into a fridge.
"The purpose of the photograph was to show sometimes at work you have these Herculean tasks put to you and she was playing a game of Tetris trying to get every possible can in the fridge," he told ABC radio.
"All I can do is apologise unreservedly because taking a photo of someone without asking first is a fundamental principle that an MP should be able to adhere to."
Despite being on taxpayer-funded medical leave to seek counselling and empathy training, the MP hit the airwaves to defend himself.
Dr Laming said he didn't know what he was apologising for in parliament last week when he fronted the chamber ahead of revelations he harassed female constituents online.
He insists he was asking tough questions in his role as an MP.
"If they don't answer those questions you'd expect those questions to be asked again and again," Dr Laming said.
"It's much easier sometimes to provide an answer to the question. That wasn't happening and now of course it's been reinvented into harassment."
Senior ministers have described his behaviour as disgraceful and completely unacceptable.
But with the government clinging onto power by a threadbare majority, the coalition has resisted calls for him to resign immediately.
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson has broken ranks to call for Dr Laming to be booted from the coalition, which would plunge the government into minority.
"It's a matter for him as to whether he wants to leave the Liberal Party. I am uncomfortable about him sitting in the party room," she told the Seven Network on Monday.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston would not say whether she would be happy for the disgraced MP to return to the coalition.
"Let's see whether Dr Laming understands the impact of his actions because I think he needs to understand that before he returns to the party room," she told the ABC.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government's each-way response was not good enough.
"There is no role for Andrew Laming in the parliament with this history of abusing people and trolling people and bullying and belittling people and potentially criminal issues at play," he said.
Dr Laming joins Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Attorney-General Christian Porter as the third Liberal MP to take medical leave over a scandal this year.
Senator Reynolds took leave following her mishandling of rape allegations raised by former staffer Brittany Higgins.
Mr Porter is off work after being accused of raping a woman when he was a teenager, which he denies.
Both ministers are expected to shift portfolios in a looming reshuffle, but will remain in cabinet.
All three politicians are due to return to parliament on federal budget day in May.
The cases have uncovered many other incidents of unsavoury behaviour in Parliament House, with female politicians speaking out about its toxic nature.
Senator Henderson and Liberal MP Katie Allen have suggested alcohol and drug testing to improve the culture in Canberra, arguing parliament should be setting the highest possible workplace standards.
Australian Associated Press