Lidia Thorpe resigns as deputy leader of the Greens in the Senate over cycling relationship

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has resigned as the party’s deputy leader in the wake of a report that she briefly dated a former bicycle boss.

The circumstances surrounding the resignation have raised serious concerns from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who has demanded clarification from the Greens.

“I think these are revelations to believe that the oversight processes of the justice system will be enforced in a way that ensures integrity and ensures that all information given there is kept confidential,” he said.

“I note that Senator Thorpe has said that this is an error of judgment – that is the least description I would give it.

“Adam Bandt needs to explain what his office knew and what he knew and why he wasn’t aware of these issues as his office was aware why that is the case.”

Earlier today, ABC revealed that in early 2021, Senator Thorpe has revealed no previous relationship with a former bike boss — ex-president of the Rebels in Victoria, Dean Martin.

Greens leader Adam Bandt confirmed that he had asked for her resignation during a press conference today.

“The media has raised issues with me pertaining to Senator Thorpe that I was not aware of until the media brought them up,” he said.

“Since then, I have immersed myself in those matters. I asked Senator Thorpe to resign as deputy leader in the Senate, and I got a resignation.

“As a leader, I expect my senators and MPs, especially those in leadership positions, to use common sense.

“Senator Thorpe had to at least reveal to me her connection to Mr Martin and her failure to do so showed a significant lack of judgment.”

Mr Bandt said Senator Thorpe understood his decision.

“I now expect her to demonstrate better judgment in the future and in carrying out her ongoing portfolio responsibilities.

“I also note that Senator Thorpe has not held the justice portfolio since the election. Senator Thorpe has important work to do on First Nations justice, including advancing truth, treaty and vote, and I want her to do that work.”

A statement from Ms Thorpe also confirmed the dismissal and acknowledged an error of judgment.

“I accept that I made mistakes and did not use common sense,” the Victorian senator said.

“I’ll think about this now and focus on my important portfolio work, especially advocating for First Nations people.”

Senator Thorpe recently confirmed that she had a brief relationship with the former Rebel president, while not disclosing the relationship.

While working on the Joint Parliamentary Law Enforcement Committee, she was aware of confidential briefings on motorcycle gangs and organized crime.

Her staff reportedly warned party leader Adam Bandt and an independent parliamentary authority after learning about the relationship.

She told the ABC about the nature of the relationship with Mr. Martin.

“We met through Blak activism and had a brief date in early 2021,” he said.

“We remain friends and have worked together for our shared interests by advocating for the rights of First Nations peoples.”

Despite more than 25 years of ties to the rebels, Mr Martin has no criminal convictions.

Notably, he is the brother of Shane Martin, the father of AFL star Dusty Martin, who was deported to New Zealand for ties to criminal motorcycle gangs.

Thorpe faced

Ms Thorpe told one of her associates about the relationship in May last year and another a month later, ABC reported.

It was in August 2021 that one of the staffers decided to confront Ms Thorpe during a remote parliamentary meeting.

The confrontation came after confidential briefing documents from the law enforcement commission arrived at Ms Thorpe’s Melbourne office detailing the AFP’s surveillance of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

On the same day, according to the staffer, Ms Thorpe returned to the office after Question Time and told them she had just come from a meeting in a park across the road with Mr Martin.

In a workday journal on August 25, the staffer wrote that she had encouraged her boss to disclose the relationship with the chief’s office.

“My advice to the senator is that she should talk to the chief’s office, she is at extremely high risk of being blackmailed, especially if someone finds out,” the message read.

“[The] senator [has been] that the risks are catastrophic and that she should resign. I advised that it was imperative that I record that I gave her this advice, and that it was ultimately up to her to follow it or not,” it continued.

“She chose not to take it… I emphasized the huge, real risk. She assured me that the relationship was no longer going on.”

The employee also reported that she was told by Ms. Thorpe that the couple used an encrypted messaging app to communicate and deleted their message history once a week.

They also never met at their respective homes, she added, and were “very cautious,” according to what Ms Thorpe told staff.

The staffer was again concerned after seeing Ms Thorpe and Mr Martin together in her electoral office in February this year, talking privately in a room for 15 minutes before leaving.

Ms Thorpe claimed the meeting was scheduled “to discuss issues related to the deportation of First Nations people, including his brother” [Shane]”.

Shane died in New Zealand late last year.

Matter to which AFP . is referred

A former employee who spoke with ABC said they reported their concerns about the relationship to Mr Bandt’s chief of staff Damien Lawson, who they said told them, “Do you mind if we don’t tell Adam?” in a legal statement.

Mr Lawson denied asking not to report the matter to Mr Bandt and claimed he thought the staffer would report his concerns to Ms Thorpe.

The staffer originally referred the matter to Mr Bandt’s office in October 2021, before making a formal complaint about wider concerns within the office in June this year, then complaining to Parliament’s Workplace Support Service in August. .

Mr Bandt was not aware of the relationship until he was approached by ABC.

However, WA Greens Senator Dorinda Cox was aware of the relationship.

“I understand that they dated for a short time and that they are friends,” Senator Cox told the publication.

The case had been referred to the AFP by the PWSS, according to an email to one of the staff members.

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