Senator Lidia Thorpe lodges ‘racist’ Greens Human Rights Commission complaint and slams the Voice

Lidia Thorpe to lodge human rights complaint as she accuses the Greens of racism

  • Lidia Thorpe claims Greens ‘were racist’
  • She claims she suffered racism in party 
  • Thorpe may abstain from the Voice vote 

Lidia Thorpe will lodge a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about the racism she alleges she experienced while a member of the Greens.

The DjabWurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman and independent senator said her lawyer had advised her there were ‘enough grounds for a case’.

Senator Thorpe left the Greens party to represent the ‘Blak sovereign movement’ in February.

Speaking to ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Senator Thorpe said she had ‘experienced racism all my life in every workplace, and the Greens were no different’.

Senator Lidia Thorpe has lodged a human rights complaint against her former party the Greens

‘I want racism stamped out … It’s called institutional racism,’ she said.

‘It’s the foundation of these institutions that are racist, that allow racism to occur. I think we all need to look at ourselves within and eradicate that and make our workplaces safer.’

Earlier this week, Senator Thorpe accused her former colleague Sarah Hanson-Young of racism in a tense exchange during senate estimates.

She made the allegation while Senator Hanson-Young was grilling ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson and News Director Justin Stevens about the national broadcaster’s handling of Stan Grant’s exit from Q+A over racial abuse.

‘She needs to look at herself,’ Senator Thorpe was heard asking.

On the Voice, Senator Thorpe also confirmed she was ‘seriously considering’ abstaining from voting in both parliament and at the public poll.

Citing concerns about a lack of detail and not enough practical action to improve Indigenous lives, she said she would ‘definitely not’ vote no in the referendum.

But she also said she couldn’t support the Voice in its current form because it would allow for ‘a powerless Voice to go into the Constitution’.

‘I’m not in the no camp and I’ve never been in the no camp. I won’t sit with racists and white supremacists on the no side,’ she told ABC’s Insiders.

She said that when the Constitution Alteration Bill goes before the senate – which paves the way for the referendum as it will detail the question Australians will be asked – she will consider abstaining.

Senator Thorpe says Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (pictured right with party leader Adam Bandt) 'needs to look at herself'

Senator Thorpe says Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (pictured right with party leader Adam Bandt) ‘needs to look at herself’

Senator Thorpe said the government should consider her amendment that would ‘acknowledge the sovereign status of First Nations people’ and cited her concerns about the makeup of the Voice.

‘We don’t know what this looks like. It could be one person. It’s up to the parliament to decide what the Voice looks like,’ she said.

‘So I can’t support something that gives us no power. And I certainly cannot support a No campaign that is looking more like a white-supremacy campaign that is causing a lot of harm.’

Senator Thorpe also criticised the government’s process for developing the referendum, arguing the members of the working group were ‘hand-picked’ and excluded ‘grassroots, sovereign blackfellas around the country’.

Senator Thorpe said she was still pushing for the government to take practical action, saying she would consider voting ‘yes’ if done.

‘We have incarceration rates going out of control, and we have over 22,000 Aboriginal children in out-of-home care today,’ she said.

‘That is the priority that this country should be talking about. The government have an opportunity to show good faith and implement those recommendations.

‘They might get my vote if they do that.’