Journalist Louise Milligan to pay politician Andrew Laming $79,000 in defamation settlement



June 17, 2021, See all newsletters

MP Andrew Laming will receive a payout after settling his defamation case against ABC journalist Louise Milligan. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

ABC journalist Louise Milligan has agreed to pay $79,000 to Queensland politician Andrew Laming in a defamation settlement.

The MP for Bowman, who will quit politics at the next election, sued the star Four Corners reporter over a series of tweets she posted earlier this year as he battled allegations of harassment.

Mr Laming said one of Ms Milligan’s tweets defamed him by falsely suggesting he had admitted to the criminal offence of “taking a photo of a woman’s underwear under her skirt”, commonly referred to as “upskirting”.

On Wednesday it was announced the case was settled with judgment in his favour and Ms Milligan agreeing to pay the sum and costs.

June 17, 2021, See all newsletters

Louise Milligan’s legal bill is expected to covered by the ABC. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Laming was ordered to attend empathy training by the Prime Minister in March after apologising in parliament for causing “distress” to two female constituents who accused him of online abuse.

Around the same time, a woman complained to Queensland police that Mr Laming had taken a photograph of her bending over.

Mr Laming denied the photo was in any way “lewd”.

He said at the time his goal was to show “a challenging work situation” by depicting a hardworking employee kneeling in normal work attire and “stacking a fridge with an impossible amount of soft drink cans”.

Queensland police investigated and laid no charges.

Mr Laming then sent legal letters to several people, including radio announcer and former senator Derryn Hinch and Labor senator Murray Watt, who issued public apologies for what they had said about the incident.

In March 2021, I published a tweet which inferred that Andrew Laming MP had taken an upskirt photo. I apologise for making that inference and any hurt it may have caused him. The tweet has been deleted.

— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) June 17, 2021

According to court documents, Milligan deleted her tweets on June 4 but did not apologise.

The Party Games newsletter Get your political briefing from news.com.au’s political editor Samantha Maiden.

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She made a public statement of her own on June 17, linking to an ABC news article about the allegations against Mr Laming and describing Twitter as a “truncated and imperfect medium”.

“In a broader Twitter discussion about gender and politics a couple of months ago, I did not include Dr Laming’s denials, nor the decision by Queensland police not to proceed,” she wrote.

Mr Laming filed a lawsuit against her soon after.

Attached are some things that should be known about Dr Andrew Laming. And please, read the linked story. It is very comprehensive. https://t.co/yLaE94CAyHpic.twitter.com/WNgmXrqJyH

— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) June 17, 2021

In the Federal Court on Wednesday Justice Anna Katzmann ordered judgment in favour of Mr Laming and ordered Ms Milligan to pay his costs.

The ABC will cover her legal costs.

The national broadcaster said in a statement Ms Milligan had published the tweets “in good faith”.

“One of those posts contained an honest error that had been widely reported by numerous other journalists and politicians on social and mass media,” the statement said.

“The ABC is not aware of legal proceedings in relation to statements or reporting by others.”

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