South Australia’s Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman issued a lawyer’s letter threatening to sue Greek-Australian Labor front bencher Tom Koutsantonis last Friday.

It is understood her legal action includes a demand for an apology and $100,000 in damages for what Ms Chapman alleges are defamatory comments made in a series of tweets posted while Mr Koutsantonis was a member of the committee examining her conduct.

Ms Chapman has been the subject of a fortnight-long parliamentary inquiry which involved her decision to block a timber port on her native Kangaroo Island.

The inquiry is looking into whether, the Deputy Premier had a conflict of interest in blocking the project. The inquiry heard on Friday several public servants and even Ms Chapman’s own adviser had prepared themselves for the possibility she would recuse herself from the decision as Planning Minister, but did not, because she had deemed no conflict existed.

The statement implied Ms Chapman was seeking to use the threat against Mr Koutsantonis to try and stay the inquiry’s findings, which are due to be delivered to parliament next Thursday.

“It is well past time for the matter to be removed from this Kangaroo court to a competent court,” Ms Chapman wrote.

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“I consider Tom’s behaviour to be a stain on the reputation of the parliament. No one calls him out.”

Mr Koutsantonis has told Neos Kosmos that he could seek to defend his statements whilst other Labor members have come forward urging South Australia’s Premier Steve Marshall to intervene and dismiss Vickie Chapman immediately.

“This appears to be a last-ditch, desperate attempt by Vickie Chapman to distract from the inquiry and save what’s left of her political career,” an Opposition spokesman said.

“It has been shocking to watch Vickie Chapman hurtling from controversy to controversy. Senior lawyers have expressed to me their dismay at the conduct of the Attorney-General in recent weeks. Now we see her launching legal action to try and solve a political problem. If Vickie Chapman is going to threaten everyone who has come to the conclusion she has done the wrong thing, she would clog up the courtrooms,” said Shadow Attorney-General Kyam Maher.

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Earlier this year, Ms Chapman adopted a different approach — arguing that a parliamentary inquiry into explosive claims by former Labor MP Annabel Digance should proceed, even after Ms Digance was charged by police with blackmail.

Ultimately, Labor and the crossbench blocked that inquiry from proceeding.