A high-powered parliamentary committee will investigate Lidia Thorpe’s brief relationship with former Rebel bikies president Dean Martin after the Senate voted to refer the Greens senator.

Thorpe also confirmed on Tuesday she is still friends with Martin, with whom she had a relationship in 2021 while she was a member of the joint parliamentary law enforcement committee.

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe addresses the Senate in response to her referral to the privileges committee.Credit:James Brickwood

Greens leader Adam Bandt also revealed the Department of Finance was conducting a separate review into Thorpe’s office and the Greens were reviewing their processes after a former staffer complained about the way their complaint about the senator had been handled.

The Senate on Tuesday voted to refer Thorpe to the Senate privileges committee as she denied any suggestions she had breached confidences while she was on the committee and dating Martin.

Thorpe opted to refer herself to the committee and Labor and the Coalition supported the motion.

Prior to the Senate vote, Thorpe said she and Martin had met through “black activism and briefly dated”.

Former Rebel bikies president Dean Martin.Credit:Chris Hopkins

“We remain friends and have collaborated on our shared interests advocating for the rights of First Nations people,” she said. “All confidential information I received as part of the joint committee on law enforcement was treated in confidence.

“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.”

But Thorpe accepted that she “should have disclosed this connection with Mr Martin to my leader and also the joint committee on law enforcement on which I was a member”.

“[But] I’m not going anywhere. Especially while we don’t have a Treaty in this country, which I will continue to fight for,” she said.

Addressing the controversy in the House of Representatives Bandt said Thorpe had “advised me she remains friends with Mr Martin and her connection with him began in 2021”.

“This means that she was the Greens justice spokesperson and also a member of the joint committee on law enforcement at the time. Senator Thorpe has acknowledged it should have been disclosed,” he said.

Thorpe last week resigned from her position of deputy leader of the Greens in the Senate at the request of Bandt after the relationship with Martin was revealed.

Bandt confirmed that Thorpe’s then chief of staff informed his chief of staff in 2021 about the relationship between the pair.

Greens leader Adam Bandt revealed the Department of Finance was doing a separate review.Credit:SMH

“He has also told me that after a subsequent conversation between the two chiefs-of-staff, my chief-of-staff understood that the issue had been addressed,” Bandt said.

“He did not inform me of these matters at the time, and I wasn’t aware of these matters until the media raised them.”

Bandt said the failure by his chief-of-staff to inform him meant he “did not meet the expectations of staff in my office on such matters” and he had counselled the staff member.

“I also consider the principal responsibility for disclosing these issues to me sat with Senator Thorpe and she has agreed that she should have disclosed this to me.”

He told the House Thorpe had assured him she had treated committee information in confidence.

Bandt said the Department of Finance was conducting a review into Thorpe’s office and the Greens were also reviewing their processes after a former staffer complained about the way their complaint about Thorpe had been handled.

Shortly before the Senate vote, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts said voters “need much, much more” than a committee referral.

“She has established a pattern of behaviours in this chamber of disrespect to the people, disrespect to the parliament and disrespect to the Senate.”

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