New Greens senator to pursue treaty

Colin Brinsden and Georgie Moore
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GREENS NEW SENATOR PRESSER

Victorian Greens MP Lidia Thorpe will take the seat vacated by Richard Di Natale in the Senate

Aboriginal activist Lidia Thorpe will make getting a treaty off the ground one of her key aims when she enters federal parliament as a Greens senator.

Ms Thorpe, a Gunnai-Kurnai/Gunditjmara woman, was named as the new Greens senator for Victoria following a state-wide ballot of its members.

A Victorian state MP, Ms Thorpe will be sworn into federal parliament in coming months to fill the casual vacancy left by the former Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who has retired from politics.

Party leader Adam Bandt said he was "absolutely thrilled" by Ms Thorpe's election.

"Lidia is exactly what politics in Australia needs at the moment," Mr Bandt told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"I have worked with Lidia for many years and have seen her get things done and give a voice to the people that politics is leaving behind."

He said as the first Aboriginal woman elected to Victorian parliament she has won renters rights, forestry protections and LGBTIQ support and has an "incredible track record of fighting for change".

Ms Thorpe said the country has been through an incredibly tough six months - catastrophic bushfires, the coronavirus pandemic and the death of a black man in the US, which made Australia realise it has the same problems with race.

"Aboriginal people out there are struggling ... My people are out there struggling to survive every day. So I want to bring that voice into parliament," she said.

"A treaty is what can bring us together. Not just a bureaucratic treaty, we need a real treaty that will end the injustice that Aboriginal people in this country face."