Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has stepped down from her role as Deputy Leader of her party in the Senate over a relationship she had with ex-Rebels bikie gang president Dean Martin.
As first reported by the ABC, Thorpe confirmed she had “briefly dated” Martin in early 2021.
“We remain friends and have collaborated on our shared interests advocating for the rights of First Nations peoples,” she told the publication.
According to the ABC, Thorpe’s staff were concerned about the relo — particularly because she was on the parliamentary law enforcement committee at the time. The committee received confidential briefings about organised crime and bikie gangs.
Two staffers said they raised concerns with Adam Bandt‘s office, but Bandt said he hadn’t heard about the relationship until he was contacted by media.
There’s been no suggestion that Thorpe shared any confidential info with unauthorised people.
“[Thorpe] has told me at no stage was there any breach of the rules regarding those committees or her work, no sharing of confidential information and to date no one has suggested otherwise,” Adam Bandt said, per 9News.
“But that is not enough. It was clear that… this could be perceived as affecting her work and her failure to disclose that, at the very least, to me was an error of judgement.”
For her part, Thorpe said in a statement that she had “made mistakes and… not exercised good judgement”.
“I will now reflect on this and focus on my important portfolio work, especially advocating for First Nations people,” she said.
Dean Martin was previously associated with the Rebels. He stepped down from the Victorian chapter in 2018 and has no criminal convictions. There is no suggestion he is still involved with the Rebels.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters Thorpe calling the situation an error of judgement “is the least description that I would put it”.
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