Thursday, 15 June 2023
Let me say this in the clearest possible terms: Senator Thorpe's allegations are concocted from beginning to end. Nothing that she has alleged about me is truthful. No such exchange occurred between us. There is no interaction that could conceivably resemble what she described today. Making false allegations in the Senate today is disgraceful and brings the Senate into disrepute.
Her insincere commentary of her right to not complain to the police evidences her consciousness of guilt that what she said is false, because, if it were true, she would not be cowering under the umbrella of parliamentary privilege to make such a scandalous and serious claim so carelessly without notice.
I have acknowledged publicly that I moved offices after an allegation from Senator Thorpe that I made her feel uncomfortable. That is what was put to me—an allegation that I denied then and deny today. I agreed to move offices to ensure the avoidance of any misconception. No incident was ever alleged by her. I agreed to protect myself against her irrational concerns and ensure the effective and smooth running of the parliament. I do not wish this matter to stain the Liberal Party that I fought so hard for. So I accept that I will no longer be sitting in the party room.
There should be and must be an investigation into these outrageous claims so they can be proved to be false. I will fully cooperate with investigators and answer any questions that they may have of me—and Senator Thorpe should do the same. I will answer any questions put to me by my own party as well.
Finally, the allegation of intimidation by my lawyer is unfounded, and I will table the letter that was a sent at 5:01 pm yesterday. In that letter Ms Giles demands that Senator Thorpe retract her allegation.
I will seek leave at the end of my statement. It should also be said that Ms Giles operates a specialist practice and has acted for Miss Brittany Higgins and Senator Hanson-Young and presently acts for members of every political party in this chamber. That slur on her was irrational and unjustified and should also be withdrawn.
I call on you, Madam President, to review the senator's most recent statement, as I believe it reflected personally on me every bit as her allegations did last night after naming me yesterday, and it should be withdrawn as per standing orders as a reflection on a senator. I seek leave to table that letter.
Senator Van, if you could give it to the whips. Senator Van, thank you for those comments. I was intending to make a statement. I wasn't aware until later that you were going to make a contribution. So I will make a statement later and I will take into account the remarks you have made about withdrawal.