Parliament is known for dealing with heavy issues and having heated debates, but no one was expecting the stir caused by Greens senator Lidia Thorpe as she branded Queen Elizabeth II a “coloniser” while reluctantly taking the oath of office on Monday, August 1.
Clad in black, Thorpe made her way to the centre of the Senate chamber with her right fist raised in the air and enthusiastically swore to serve the who is still Australia’s head of state.,
“I sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and I bear true allegiance to the colonising her majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” she said before she was interrupted by Senate officials.
Her Senate colleagues were quick to remind Thorpe that she was “not a senator” unless she correctly recited the oath.
“Senator Thorpe, Senator Thorpe, you are required to recite the oath as printed on the card,” said the chamber’s president Sue Lines.
Thorpe went on to recipe the oath again but later took to Twitter to share of photo of herself punching the air with a caption that read: “Sovereignty never ceded”.
Sovereignty never ceded. https://t.co/OowLrlUApy
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) August 1, 2022
Her actions have sparked mixed emotions on social media, with some labelling her a “disgusting piece of work” while others are accusing Thorpe of single-handedly causing Albanese’s referendum to fail.
Welcome Lidia Thorpe who is single-handedly causing Albanese’s ‘it’s the vibe’ referendum to fail
Uncouth, ungrateful unlikeable un-Australian voice representing Aboriginals who want to live in harmony with fellow Australians.
Selfishly putting her people’s cause back by years.
— Lynda Dowling ???????????????????? (@ljd216) August 1, 2022
However, Thrope isn’t the only government official who is against the idea of swearing allegiance to the Queen.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlewaite said it was “archaic and ridiculous” that MPs had to pledge to serve the British royal family, saying MPs should make their oath to serve the Australian people, not the British royal family.
“Ironically, under section 44 of the Constitution, you cannot run for parliament if you hold allegiance to another country, yet the first thing we do in parliament is promise to serve a foreign monarch,” he said.
While Indigenous recognition and reconciliation are high on the government’s list, Thorpe argues that Abanense’s proposal for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is backwards.
Just last month, Thorpe described Australia as a “colonial project” and said she stood for parliament “to question the illegitimate occupation of the colonial system in this country”.
“I am here for my people, and I will sacrifice swearing allegiance to the coloniser to get into the media like I am right now, to get into the parliament like I am every day,” she said.