Adam Bandt’s office has confirmed the Greens leader has met with the Australian Federal Police to discuss Senator Lidia Thorpe’s unknown relationship with a former bikie boss.
- The police have met with Adam Bandt over his senator’s unknown relationship with an ex-bikie
- Information about hearings that Lidia Thorpe attended while she was in the relationship has been passed on to the privacy committee
- Separate claims that Senator Thorpe was often absent and unreachable are under review by the Treasury Department
Senator Thorpe admitted as much last month she briefly dated the former leader of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang in Victoria, Dean Martin, while also serving on Parliament’s Law Enforcement Committee.
She did not disclose this relationship to her party leader, despite warnings from her staff to do so.
Mr Bandt stripped Senator Thorpe of her leadership position in the party and committed to meeting with AFP on the matter, which his office has since confirmed he has done, although he could not reveal the content of that briefing.
Senator Thorpe also volunteered to be referred to Parliament’s powerful Privileges Committee, which looks into potential breaches of the Code of Conduct.
The Law Enforcement Committee sent a detailed response to the Senate Privileges Committee about a week ago to its own inquiries.
The ABC has been told the committee noted Senator Thorpe’s failure to declare a conflict of interest and detailed the hearings the Victorian senator attended, including with the AFP and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
It is understood the committee reported that while there was no investigation into outlaw motorcycle gangs during Senator Thorpe’s time as a member, it heard evidence of bikie gang activity during organized crime hearings.
The Greens’ sole member on the Senate Privileges Committee is Tasmanian Nick McKim.
If the Privileges Committee determines that Senator Thorpe had failed to disclose a conflict of interest, she would likely face Senate censure.
A parliamentary insider told the ABC this would be “new territory” for the Privileges Committee, as it has never had a similar case brought before it.
Review of Thorpe’s office continues after complaint
A cultural review of Senator Thorpe’s office by the Treasury has been underway after a formal complaint was made to the Greens in June this year.
In it, a former employee of Senator Thorpe complained that they believed there was a breach of workplace health and safety in the senator’s office.
The staffer said Senator Thorpe “rarely” attended the office and that when asked to come in she would become “defensive and rude”.
“She is often missing and uncontactable, sometimes for days at a time. This makes it incredibly difficult and at times impossible to get approvals for work,” staff said in a complaint seen by the ABC.
“On more than one occasion she has withdrawn completely because she is too overwhelmed and discourages all staff from even contacting her before giving other advice.
“Party members and community members have complained … about her lack of reliability or that she was unprepared in the event that she attends a meeting or event.”
Sir. Bandt previously said his office had “expressed regret [the complainant] about what happened” and supported Senator Thorpe and her staff in the review process.
He said it was a matter for the appropriate authorities to determine whether there was a health and safety breach, and his office was awaiting the outcome of the Treasury Department’s review.
Senator Thorpe has been contacted for comment.