AEC to investigate Laming over network of Facebook pages that promote LNP

The Australian Electoral Commission will investigate Liberal National MP Andrew Laming for potential breaches of electoral laws over more than 30 Facebook pages he operates under the guise of community and education groups.

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Composite: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Laming, who is currently on leave after reports emerged about his mistreatment of women, faces a fine of up to $26,000 for a breach of the authorisation requirements if he is found to have broken the Commonwealth Electoral Act.


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As reported by Guardian Australia on Tuesday, Laming has set up dozens of Facebook pages under the guise of community and news groups, including one that poses as a fake education institute.

Related: Andrew Laming: Simpsons memes, ‘extraordinary behaviour’ and the end of an MP’s career

Following the reports, a spokesperson from the Australian Electoral Commission said the behaviour of the MP would be investigated.

“A key purpose of the authorisation laws is to allow voters to know who is communicating,” the AEC said.

“With regard to the Facebook activity mentioned in [the] article published yesterday, I can confirm that we will be investigating the requirement for electoral authorisation.”

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According to the AEC, material requiring an authorisation statement needs to be deemed an “electoral matter”, with material that is communicated “for the dominant purpose of influencing the way electors vote in a federal election”.

“This includes, but is not limited to, a communication that expressly promotes or opposes a candidate, political party, member or senator.”

The disclosure laws, which were updated following the 2016 election, also explicitly include social media posts, requiring authorisation details either in the message or through the page’s biography details.

Guardian Australia revealed that the Facebook page operating as the Redland Bay Bulletin – which uses a similar name to the local news site the Redland City Bulletin – claimed to be a “community group”, but was set up by Laming in 2015. The page claimed it would “keep a close eye on politicians and their promises”.

© Composite: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Liberal MP for Bowman Andrew Laming faces a fine of up to $26,000 if he is found to have broken the Commonwealth Electoral Act by setting up more than 30 Facebook pages and profiles under the guise of community groups.

“This page was created to provide an opportunity for you to communicate your likes and dislikes, advertise an event or your business. So share this page to fellow residents. Let’s see if we are noticed so that positive changes can be made,” the “about” page reads.

After one community resident complained about the page’s apparent LNP “propaganda”, one of the page’s administrators responded: “Yes this page was created by Andrew, but is now administered by several locals from the Redland Bay and Mount Cotton area”.

Another Facebook page used by Laming claims to be the fictitious Redlands Institute, a “forum for balanced discussion of major issues” which has been registered with Facebook as an “education” group.

The Redlands Institute promotes stories casting doubt on climate science, calling it “apocalyptic environmentalism” and spreads anti-Labor and anti-Greens propaganda while linking to Laming’s official material.

Laming revealed his identity in comments on the page posted under the institute’s name, including by posting links to Facebook live events on his now deleted official page and asking page followers to ask him questions.

Laming has also revealed himself in comments on the Victoria Point News page and the Thornlands 4164 page, both of which have been set up as “community” pages.

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