Lidia Thorpe to refer herself to privileges committee over relationship with ex-bikie
Greens senator Lidia Thorpe will refer herself to the Senate privileges committee for possible investigation of her previously undisclosed relationship with former bikie leader Dean Martin.
Thorpe will write to the Senate president on Monday assenting to an inquiry into the possible perceived conflict of interest arising from the relationship due to her former role on the joint law enforcement committee.
Thorpe resigned as the Greens’ deputy Senate leader on Thursday after the ABC revealed she had “briefly dated” Martin in 2021 and remains friends with him, prompting warnings from her staff, including to the office of Greens leader, Adam Bandt.
On Monday Thorpe said she is “more than willing to participate in any inquiry” and noted her decision to refer herself had been approved by the Greens party room.
“As required by the standing orders I will not be making any further comment in relation to the referral until the president has concluded consideration of the matter,” she said in a statement.
“I am proud of my work for First Nations justice and I won’t stop fighting for my people.”
The move heads off a hostile referral by the Coalition, which has indicated it will pursue both an inquiry on the privileges committee and a Senate censure motion. The Liberal leader, Peter Dutton, has described Thorpe has “unfit” to sit in parliament.
The law enforcement committee is already undertaking checks of what confidential information was received in private hearings while Thorpe was a member.
On Friday the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told reporters in Perth that Labor would “examine any proposal” that was moved when asked about a possible censure.
Albanese said the law enforcement committee’s check “to ensure there has been no conflict there” was an “appropriate” action.
Related: Lidia Thorpe faces Senate censure and two investigations over relationship with ex-bikie
Labor has asked Thorpe and Bandt to explain in the Senate and lower house why the potential conflict was not disclosed.
Albanese said Bandt needed to give a “full explanation” of the circumstances because he “apparently wasn’t aware of this information even though it was reported to his office”.
“That clearly shows they need to change their procedures that were in place.”
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Thorpe was a member of the joint committee on law enforcement from February 2021 to April 2022, during which time it reviewed the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s powers to conduct special operations and investigations, which include activities to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Martin, who has no criminal convictions, was associated with the Rebels but stepped down as Victorian chapter president in 2018 after his brother Shane Martin – the father of AFL star Dustin Martin – was deported to New Zealand.
Bandt has described the failure to disclose the relationship as a “significant error of judgment” but that – on the facts as they currently stand – her resignation from the leadership group was an “appropriate sanction”.
In a statement on Thursday, Thorpe said she accepted she “made mistakes” and had “not exercised good judgment”.
Thorpe told the ABC, which first revealed the relationship, she met Martin “through Blak activism and briefly dated in early 2021”.
“We remain friends and have collaborated on our shared interests advocating for the rights of First Nations peoples.”
Thorpe acknowledged she did not advise Bandt of her relationship with Martin, but insisted that confidential committee documents on how the AFP monitors outlaw motorcycle gangs were “treated in confidence”.
Thorpe said Martin’s history with the Rebels was a “past connection”.
“Obviously, I’m concerned about the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle clubs in general. But when we met, Mr Martin was no longer involved with that world.”
Guardian Australia does not suggest that Thorpe shared any confidential information with any person not authorised to receive it.