A former Liberal upper house MP says anyone who knew about the Facebook trolling scandal in Port Stephens should be "kicked out of the party".
Liberal candidate Jaimie Abbott and Hunter duty MLC Catherine Cusack became embroiled in the controversy in February when sitting MP Kate Washington asked Facebook and the Clerk of Parliament to investigate what she suspected were fake accounts being operated by one of Ms Cusack's staff members.
Ms Cusack launched a vigorous defence of her staffer, whom she named as Tasman Brown, backing him "1000 per cent" and accusing Ms Washington of "bullying", "disgusting behaviour" and "false accusations".
But Ms Abbott was forced to apologise to Ms Washington on March 8 after Facebook deleted seven accounts connected to Mr Brown, including his own and Ms Abbott's.
I believe anyone with knowledge of the Facebook trolling should be kicked out of the party. There is no room for that sort of behaviour or anyone condoning that behaviour.Scot MacDonald
The former Liberal parliamentary secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said on Sunday that the scandal had damaged Ms Abbott's chances in a marginal seat the party had targeted with $450 million in road funding promises and four campaign visits by Premier Gladys Berejiklian before Saturday's state election.
"It's silly stuff, poor judgment, and I think it's to be deeply regretted. I never want to see anything like that again," Mr MacDonald said.
"It comes down to leadership and your sense of responsibility, so there's no excuses there.
"The public look at that stuff and make their judgments about what's gone on."
Ms Washington enjoyed a 3 per cent swing in her favour to comfortably hold the seat, which at 4.7 per cent had been the most marginal Labor-held electorate in the Hunter before the vote.
She said on Sunday that the Liberal party had "lost its moral compass" during the campaign.
Mr MacDonald left Parliament on Saturday after losing a preselection battle with Ms Cusack last year and dropping down the party's ballot order.
One of the Facebook screen shots shown to the Newcastle Herald includes criticism of Mr MacDonald's record on the Mambo wetlands.
On Monday, he doubled down on his criticism of anyone involved in the trolling scandal, especially in light of post-election comments by Ms Berejiklian about raising the standard of parliamentary behaviour.
"I believe anyone with knowledge of the Facebook trolling should be kicked out of the party," he told the Herald.
"There is no room for that sort of behaviour or anyone condoning that behaviour."
Ms Cusack said on March 8 that she had been "misled" and Mr Brown's passion for politics had led him to "make this mistake".
She said on Monday that Mr Brown had been used unfairly as a "pawn" during the campaign.
But she did not want to comment further until she had seen the "full complaint" by Ms Washington, including screen shots of the Facebook comments trolling the Labor campaign.
Facebook said on March 8 that it had deleted seven profiles "for violation of our policies".
"We take a strong stand against people that attempt to mislead others about who they are or what they're doing," a spokesman said.
The Newcastle Herald has seen screen shots of dozens of Facebook comments from one account which attack other users for "slinging mud behind your keyboard", "not being bright enough", being "full of it" and "borderline bullying".
The same account accuses Ms Washington in different comment threads of being a "shameless liar" and "fear-mongering", describes Ms Abbott as a "lovely lady" and says "Jaimie can you be our next member for Port Stephens? Please?"
Another comment from the same account reads: "Shame on Kate Washington for not supporting this!! Disgusting! I will be sharing this with my friends."
Some of the comments have been liked by Mr Brown, who was a volunteer for Ms Abbott during the campaign.
Another account accuses a Mambo wetlands supporter of being a "nasty piece of work".
Irene Jones, the president of the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group, was one of those targeted by the fake Facebook accounts.
Ms Jones said she was "disgusted" and "appalled" to find out the Facebook accounts were fake.
"If you're going to say something on social media, use your real name, stick to the truth and defend your views," she said.
Ms Washington's complaint to the Clerk of Parliament said she had evidence that "strongly suggests" one of Ms Cusack's staff members had been "involved with, if not operating, fake Facebook profiles for the purposes of attacking me online and promoting my political opponent".
She said on Monday that the Department of Parliamentary Services had confirmed to her its investigation was ongoing.
The Herald attempted to contact the department and Mr Brown for comment. Mr Brown denied operating the fake accounts when he was approached about the issue in February.
Ms Abbott said on Sunday that she was proud of her team's campaign and "no stone was left unturned".
The Herald asked the office of Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday if the Liberal party was investigating the matter and if she was concerned about what had transpired in Port Stephens but did not receive a response before deadline.