Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe has been cleared of contempt of parliament during an investigation into her alleged undisclosed relationship with a former bikie gang leader.
Thorpe has also denied that she and former Rebels bikie boss Dean Martin ever had an actual relationship.
The former Greens senator referred herself to the Senate’s privileges committee to clear the allegations after being forced to resign as deputy senator of the Greens last October amidst the initial scandal.
The committee released their report on Tuesday night, which found Thorpe was not in contempt despite the committee’s criticism of her failing to disclose the relationship sooner.
“The committee is of the view that Senator Thorpe should have declared her relationship with Mr Martin to the joint committee as a potential conflict of interest with her work on the committee,” the report stated.
“However, on the basis of the evidence provided by the joint committee and Senator Thorpe, the committee is satisfied that no disclosure of such material has occurred and that the operations of the joint committee have not been impeded.”
During the investigation, Thorpe told the Senate she had “no relationship” with Martin and that they had “kissed once” at a rally on the 26th of January.
“I had no idea who this person was or his background,” she told the Senate.
When speaking with The Guardian, Thorpe said that she was “advised” by Greens lawyers to disclose that she dated the ex bikie.
“I did nothing wrong,” Thorpe said to The Guardian. “I got advice from Greens lawyers saying ‘You have to say that you dated.'”
Greens leader Adam Bandt has said he asked Thorpe to resign as the Greens’ deputy senator leader when the allegations first arose last year.
“It was clear this could be perceived as affecting her work and her failure to disclose that to me was an error of judgment,” Bandt stated.
After the initial backlash, Thorpe apologised for not disclosing her connection to the former bikie, saying “I accept that I have made mistakes and have not exercised good judgment.”
However, during the recent investigation she said that she should be issued an apology from Bandt.
“What kind of person do you think I am?” she asked the Senate. “I deserve an apology, from the leader of the Greens for one because I lost my position.”
“I didn’t come to this place to do wrong by the committees I sit on … I take that job very, very seriously.”
Photo: DSC_9354 Save Sacred Djabwurrung by Julian Meehan is found HERE and used under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY 2.0). The image has not been modified.