Bandt meets federal police over Thorpe’s relationship with ex-bikie

Bandt meets federal police over Thorpe’s relationship with ex-bikie

11/24/2022

The Australian Federal Police have spoken with Greens leader Adam Bandt about senator Lidia Thorpe’s former relationship with former Rebels bikie member Dean Martin.

But Thorpe, who is also being investigated by the powerful Senate privileges committee while her office is reviewed by the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service, has not met with the federal police over the Martin matter.

Lidia Thorpe.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

A spokesman for the Greens confirmed Bandt’s meeting with the federal police but said “the contents of that briefing are private”.

Bandt had previously flagged he would seek a meeting with the AFP to check whether the police had any concerns over whether Thorpe had disclosed confidential information to Martin. The AFP, which declined to comment, has also spoken to others.

Thorpe resigned from her position as deputy Greens leader in the Senate last month and was referred to the privileges committee last month after two of her former staffers revealed she had been in a relationship with Martin while also serving as a member of the joint parliamentary committee on law enforcement.

Both former staffers, one of whom spoke to this masthead, had raised concerns with Thorpe about a potential conflict of interest between her relationship with Martin and her role on a committee that receives confidential briefings about bikie gangs and organised crime.

Thorpe has insisted that she complied with the committee’s requirements at all times.

When she was referred to the privileges committee, Thorpe said: “I strongly reject any suggestion that I would do anything other than comply with the committee’s requirements and I note no one has offered any evidence to the contrary.”

The secretive privileges committee, which investigates conduct that could block the work of the senate, met on Thursday to discuss its investigation of Thorpe and will meet again next week.

That committee has now received a detailed report from the law enforcement committee about what confidential briefings Thorpe received from security and police agencies while she was a member between February 2021 and April 2022.

Greens leader Adam Bandt asked Lidia Thorpe to resign as the party’s deputy leader in the Senate over her prior relationship with Dean Martin.Credit:Jason South, Paul Jeffers, Jesse Marlow

The ABC reported in October that one of Thorpe’s two former staffers had reported their concerns about the Thorpe-Martin relationship to the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service (PWSS) and that the body had then referred to the matter to the Australian Federal Police.

The support service’s separate review into Thorpe’s office, formally known as a cultural diagnostic, is expected to make a series of recommendations about how to improve operations in Thorpe’s office.

The Greens’ spokesman said that Thorpe’s office “has critically important work to do, so Senator Thorpe actively initiated the independent cultural diagnostic review under the auspices of the Department of Finance and is working with the relevant services through to its completion to ensure their workplace delivers the best possible outcomes for their constituents and staff”.

In September, this masthead revealed that Thorpe’s former chief of staff was appalled by her outburst in a meeting with two Indigenous community leaders – Aboriginal elder Aunty Geraldine Atkinson and Marcus Stewart, the co-chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – at Parliament House last year.

The federal Greens party room, which grew to 16 people after the May 2022 election, will consider whether Thorpe has acted within the party’s code of conduct after the review is finalised.

A spokesman for the PWSS said that “in keeping with the privacy and confidentiality principles which underpin the service, the PWSS does not comment on individual workplace matters”.

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