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Labor MP Marion Scrymgour hires lawyers to investigate Lidia Thorpe’s ‘scandalous’ allegations of corrupt conduct

Labor MP Marion Scrymgour hires lawyers to investigate Lidia Thorpe’s ‘scandalous’ allegations of corrupt conduct

Labor MP Marion Scrymgour hires lawyers to investigate Lidia Thorpe’s ‘scandalous’ allegations of corrupt conduct

Labor MP Marion Scrymgour has announced she is seeking legal advice over the “scandalous” corruption allegations brought against her by independent senator Lidia Thorpe.

On June 7, Senator Thorpe used a Senate Estimates hearing to question members of the Northern Land Council, of which Scrymgour was former executive director, over allegations that COVID stimulus grants were misused to benefit member by Lingiari.

Among several claims advanced by the senator under parliamentary privilege were that the NLC provided advice to Ms Scrymgour on using the grants to “gain support for her political aspirations”, and that the body allegedly approved a payment of $400,000 to Daiyi Aboriginal Corporation to build a holiday home for the Labor MP.

Senator Thorpe also appeared to suggest that the NLC could not be trusted to properly investigate the claims given there were “multiple issues and conflicts of interest” within the body, as she demanded an undertaking that COVID grants would be “properly scrutinised.” “.

On Monday, Ms Scrymgour told SkyNews.com.au Senator Thorpe’s allegations were “outrageous” before releasing a six-page statement responding to the allegations and revealing she was receiving legal advice.

“At a Senate estimates hearing on June 7, Senator Thorpe embarked on a questioning in which she implied that I had engaged in corrupt conduct,” he wrote.

“This is not the first time Senator Thorpe has been able to use parliamentary privilege to launch personal attacks against me and my Aboriginal Northern Territory parliamentary colleague, Senator McCarthy.

“Clay sticks. Once released, stories and rumors often gain new life due to the greater publicity usually given to any response.

“More than two years into my mandate, I did not expect that insults to my character related to my previous work would be deliberately weaponized through a clever combination of parliamentary privilege and social media.

“I have referred to my lawyers the additional harm that Senator Thorpe has attempted to cause me through her forays into social media. I will not be commenting further on this matter.”

In her statement, Ms Scrymgour alleges that the independent senator packaged footage from the June 7 hearing, including some “unpleasant comments”, before posting the clips on various social media platforms.

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Asked on Monday if she was considering filing a defamation claim, the Labor MP told SkyNews.com.au she was still waiting for legal advice but that was “an option” that could arise when hiring lawyers.

Responding to Ms Scrymgour’s announcement, Senator Thorpe told SkyNews.com.au her questions had been “guided by community concerns” and aimed to ensure transparency.

“Budget estimates are a time to examine the stewardship of public money and compliance with good governance,” he said.

“My questions in this month’s Estimates were guided by community concerns. Driving better accountability and transparency around government spending is a key part of my role as an independent senator.”

Ms Scrymgour served as NLC chief executive from 2019 until she was elected Labor member for Lingiari in 2022.