Senator labels the Queen a 'coloniser' in Parliament outburst

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A Greens senator has been forced to recite a passage of the oath of allegiance for a second time while being sworn into the Senate after labelling the Queen – and Australia's head of state – a "coloniser".

Lidia Thorpe drew derision from some of her colleagues on the opposite side of the upper house on Monday for the performative protest.

In a display of defiance, Ms Thorpe labelled the 96-year-old British monarch a "coloniser" while referring to herself as "sovereign".

Senator Thorpe was then forced to recite the oath of allegiance without the additional words as she held her fist in the air as a sign of resistance during the Senate procedure.

Australia Greens Senator for Victoria Lidia Thorpe raises her arm during her swearing-in ceremony in the Senate chamber on Monday. Source: AAP
Australia Greens Senator for Victoria Lidia Thorpe raises her arm during her swearing-in ceremony in the Senate chamber on Monday. Source: AAP

Taking to Twitter following the outburst, Ms Thorpe reiterated the point.

"Sovereignty never ceded," the Aboriginal senator from Victoria said.

It’s not the first protest related to the issue of indigenous recognition since Parliament returned last week. On Wednesday, Pauline Hanson stormed out of the Senate after refusing to acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as traditional custodians of the Canberra area.

With indigenous issues set to take prominence in this parliamentary term, it was the latest indication the country should likely brace for a contentious debate.

Ms Thorpe's stunt comes as the Albanese government gave further detail over the weekend about a plan to move forward with a referendum on an indigenous voice to parliament.

The Greens Senator in a defiant display. Source: AAP
The Greens Senator in a defiant display. Source: AAP

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said while the Voice was an important issue, the government would aim to pursue as much consensus as possible about the path to establish it.

"We will not be rushed, and it is very important that this belongs to the Australian people, not to politicians," she told ABC radio on Monday.

"There will be a process, we will not be rushed."

A potential question to be asked in the referendum would be: "Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?"

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recommended adding three sentences to the constitution, setting out that there will be a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, that the Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on Indigenous matters and that the parliament shall have the power to make laws on the Voice's composition, functions, powers and procedures.

with AAP

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