24 April 2023

Lidia Thorpe's antics are extraordinary, but that's what democracy looks like

| David Murtagh
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Lidia Thorpe at Parliament House

Lidia Thorpe doesn’t hide who she is or what she wants. Photo: Lidia Thorpe Facebook.

Unless you happen to be a paid-up member of the Lidia Thorpe Fan Club, it’s hard not to blanch at the most recent antics of the recently independent senator from Victoria.

As every NRL player (and their lawyer) knows – nothing good happens at 3 am, outside a strip club.

Of course, this is just her latest episode.

About a month ago she was confronting a women’s rights activist on the lawns of Parliament House to stand up for trans rights. A month earlier she was disrupting Mardi Gras which supports, er, trans rights (confusing, isn’t it?). She’s a tough one to get behind.

Too radical for the Greens, if she were a Liberal she would have been cancelled on multiple occasions, not least in December 2021 when she was forced to apologise to Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes after making offensive inferences about Hughes’ son, who has autism, during a debate about people living with disabilities.

Thorpe is unsullied by reason but driven by the emotions of an attention-seeking three-year-old in need of a timeout and less sugar.

No wonder the chorus grows stronger for her to hand in her resignation.

Those calls are as unlikely as they are absurd.

For a start, Thorpe has never had it so good – as she lets us know.

Lidia Thorpe tweet

Lidia Thorpe enjoying hospitality in the Chairman’s Lounge in May 2021. Image: Twitter.

Before entering Parliament – not the Senate, mind; remember, she was a member of the Victorian Parliament before she switched it up – she was an activist. There’s not much coin in that unless you’re a BLM founder, so she’s not about to surrender a job with a base salary north of $200,000 a year, lots of travel, the occasional entry into the Chairman’s Lounge and a handy bonus for each Senate committee in which to build a soapbox. Lidia is many things (insert list here … we can wait), but stupid isn’t one of them.

And here’s the kicker. For all her appallingness, it’s the reason she must remain a senator for as long as democracy demands.

Thorpe represents the angriest of angry Blak Australia who now have an unfiltered representative in Parliament. Right or wrong, she is bringing to the fore the id – the anger – of many sections of Blak Australia. And that’s important.

READ ALSO Lidia Thorpe clashes with police at anti-trans rally at Parliament House

Take her stance on the Voice.

For her and her supporters, the Voice is not the end (because nothing is the end – the revolution can’t be ended), the Voice is just the beginning of her demands. That’s why she left the Greens.

“Now I will be able to speak freely on all issues from a sovereign perspective without being constrained by portfolios and agreed party positions,” she said on quitting the Greens on 6 February.

“Greens MPs, members and supporters have told me they want to support the Voice. This is at odds with the community of activists who are saying treaty before Voice.”

READ ALSO Human headline Thorpe’s behaviour unbecoming of a senator in a democracy

Thorpe is also why the Senate needs her analogue, Pauline Hanson.

For all their sins, both are truly representative of the voiceless (with or without the capital V). And isn’t that the point? Democracy is more than burned sausages and stale bread, it’s about voice. Swearing, dropped Gs and all.

Those two women represent the angry and the forgotten. You may not like it, but this is a good thing.

For years we have been told that Parliament should ‘look like the community it represents’.

It may not be pretty, but as activists have shouted at many a protest, this is what democracy looks like. It’s not always coherent. It’s not always pretty. But not much is at 3 am.

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I thought it was interesting that her Father had to remind her and us , of Lindas heritage that it also includes Ireland and England.

Our media are quick to say someone is a proud ( enter name here ) person, but no mention of any other heritage if there is some. Especially our local paper thing.

Is this because the person does not wish to acknowledge other heritage ? or the medias policy not to let us know.

Have noticed our local paper thing drops the proud bit when the person is before the courts.

Did we ever find out whether there was a leak of confidential AFP material to her ex-bikie boyfriend while she was on the Joint Parliamentary Law Enforcement Committee or are we just brushing that under the rug?

Given that no red flags have been officially raised by AFP, I think that rather than being a case of “brushing that under the rug”, I think it’s more just specious (and malicious) speculation on your part … oh unless you have evidence?

If this is ok, I expect to see a similar article about Pauline when she is being vilified by all and sundry about a comment she makes.

Just tune in to Sky news – you’ll get all the love for Pauline to warm the cockles of your heart

She’s amazing. We haven’t heard the last of her

She is a disgrace,and is having a negative effect on aborigines

Democracy allows for the election of people whose value system or conduct or affiliations may differ from our own. It’s happened many times before. The voting cycle takes care of those who alienate too many constituents.

True – so very true

If democracy is carrying on like a first year Unit student and getting $200k to boot, the author needs to get out more

HiddenDragon7:50 pm 22 Apr 23

“For her and her supporters, the Voice is not the end (because nothing is the end – the revolution can’t be ended), the Voice is just the beginning of her demands.”

If Thorpe did not exist, the people who can’t let the “revolution” end (because they would never again see the inside of the Chairman’s Lounge) and the people who are viscerally opposed to the slightest thought of a “revolution” would have to invent her – she is the perfect distraction and pressure valve, just as Hanson has been for Big Australia.

Don’t you mean “just as Hanson has been for Bigoted Australia”?

Are we just meant to forget that the only reason Thorpe got elected is because she ran as a Green and has now abandoned the party because its become convenient to her personally?

Not really a good representation of democracy at work.

I would have thought you would understand our democratic process.
She was elected as a Senator for Victoria.
Many before her have been members of a party, elected to Parliament and then left the party while remaining in Parliament.
Are you suggesting Thorpe has no right to follow a well established precedent?

No I’m fully aware of our processes, which is my point.

“Are you suggesting Thorpe has no right to follow a well established precedent?”

It’s not really a well established precedent, people also criticised those previous examples. As I would.

How many people voted for “The Greens” vs “Lidia Thorpe” personally?

People can criticise as much as they like, chewy14 – the precedent still exists and it will probably happen again.

“How many people voted for “The Greens” vs “Lidia Thorpe” personally?”
Why is that relevant? The fact that on leaving the Greens, legally Thorpe was not required to vacate her position in the Senate. Legally – you know, that unfortunate measure that actually determines the outcome, as opposed to your opinion?

… and because you will tell me I’m avoiding the question – the Greens in Victoria received a total 529,429 votes of which Thorpe personally received 40,174 votes.
Notably, Thorpe’s personal vote was higher than any other Senate candidate in Victoria – easily eclipsing the next highest ranked candidates – Linda White (Labor) on 30,674 and Sarah Henderson (Liberal) on 24,973 votes.
Nevertheless, I repeat, why is that (Greens V Thorpe vote) relevant?

Why is it relevant that she ran under the Greens banner and once elected has now abandoned them and the policy platform that she was elected from?


Perhaps it’s because as I said the first time, it’s not really a good representation of democracy at work. Because the will of the people that got her elected was based around the policy platform of the Greens and above the line voting for them, not Lidia Thorpe herself. If she wanted to run as an independent, she could have done so. My position on this wouldn’t change no matter the politics of the individual involved, I think above the line voting should be removed.

And lastly, why is it relevant that her behaviour is currently legal? Are you suggesting Australia’s democracy has reached perfection and couldn’t be enhanced? Seems strange considering your position on the upcoming referendum.

Thorpe is a former Greens Victorian parliamentarian. After losing her seat at the last state election, Thorpe was then selected, as the Greens party nominee, to fill the temporary Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Richard di Natalie. She was then given the no. 1 position on the Greens ticket at the last election and subsequently re-elected.
What this all means, is that Thorpe has quite a history as a Greens politician, rather than your inference that she abandoned the party once elected.
She then found herself unable to support the party’s position on the Voice – which was not part of the platform taken to the election, given the Greens only declared their position just before she resigned from the party. I can understand that she acted on her principles by resigning from the parliament and like many before her, I have no issue with her continuing as an independent.
So it seems that Thorpe’s resignation from the party but not parliament is an affront to your definition of democracy, chewy14, and you have an issue with anyone who is not similarly affronted.
As myview0 says above, “The voting cycle takes care of those who alienate too many constituents”. So under our democratic system, if she is inclined to stand again, she will be judged by the Victorian electors.
And no, our democracy has not reached perfection, but Thorpe has done nothing wrong. It would appear that nobody in a position to prevent such an action, probably the major parties, is too concerned either – otherwise the electoral laws would have been changed.
Nice furphy on my position on the Voice by the way. I’m comfortable with my position on both matters.

GrumpyGrandpa5:27 pm 22 Apr 23

“Those two women represent the angry and the forgotten. You may not like it, but this is a good thing”.

There is a big difference between Pauline Hanson and Lidia Thorpe.

Hanson calls it as she she’s it. She supports what she considers old fashioned values. She doesn’t believe minority groups should get special treatment, which has seen her accused of being racist. She has a party with policies. She isn’t very articulate.

Thorpe was elected on the tailcoat of the Greens, but left the party and now has no rules or policies to confine or define her. She undermines the Senate and Australia’s political process. Her own father has labelled her as a radicalised racist. She is educated and articulate.

If Ms Thorpe is re-elected in 2028, after her “Greens” term expires, then she has earnt her stripes and can stand beside Ms Hanson. But at this stage, she doesn’t act like someone deserving of being a Senator, and her presence in the Senate is not a good thing.

“There is a big difference between Pauline Hanson and Lidia Thorpe.”
One of the big differences you forgot to mention is that Hanson was disendorsed as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Oxley immediately prior to the 1996 election – but too late for the ballot papers to show her as an independent … so she was elected on the “tailcoat of the Liberals” and then able to build a profile that ultimately led to her election as a senator. On the other hand, Thorpe left the Greens – despite that fact she was encouraged to remain by her colleagues.

“… accused of being racist.”
I suppose you think that when she told a fellow senator, on social media, to ““p*** off back to Pakistan” Hanson was just offering travel advice?

While I don’t agree with Thorpe’s publicity grabbing antics, please don’t try to paint Hanson as a saint.

I regret I have no idea how you go about becoming a Senator, even after having a quick read of the Australian Electoral Commission ‘go to page’ on the Senate


.I am more confused than before, especially the part called

”Any surplus votes from elected candidates (votes in excess of the quota they need), are transferred to the candidates who were the second choice of voters on those ballot papers. Because it is not possible to determine which votes actually elected the candidate and which votes are surplus, all the elected candidate’s ballot papers are transferred at a reduced rate.”

One of the main things I can remember about the Senate, apart from Senator Linda, are the words from former PM Keating and his views on the Senate
`unrepresentative swill’.

Have to admit, the thing about it being a safeguard for States rights, seems to have flown straight through the window.

Sent from Mail for Windows

Interesting read, David. Well done

Trevor Willis1:37 pm 22 Apr 23

She is a self-centred, loud-mouthed idiot who simply wants to shock people with her pranks. She was voted in on the Green ticket. When she deserted them she should have resigned to see if she would be voted in as an Independent

@Trevor Willis
I thought you were talking about Pauline Hanson, until I got to “She was voted in on the Green ticket”

Her selection by the Greens confirmed why I could never vote for them.

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