Australian Senator Lidia Thorpe slams Queen and Royal Family
The Green senator – a frequent critic of Britain – has aired her views in a series of incendiary tweets in the wake of the Queen’s death at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8. In her most recent, earlier today, she backed the decision of the AFLW, the Australian Football League’s women’s section, not to hold a minute’s silence during the indigenous round of games.
Prior to that, on Thursday, she share a link to a comment piece she had written for The Guardian, commenting: “They buried our kids in the sand and kicked off their heads, and you want me to pay my respects?
“This isn’t about an individual, it’s about the institution she represents and the genocide that they’re responsible for.”
In the article itself, she said: “’The ‘British empire’ declared a war on these shores, against this country’s First Nations peoples. This led to massacres. And you want a minute’s silence from me?’
Lidia Thorpe has branded Queen Elizabeth an “oppressor”
Lidia Thorpe’s tweet
“Colonial governments are complicit in continuing the crimes against First Nations people because that is the agenda of the coloniser… around the world. To think that people can stand and celebrate that is ignorant and painful.”
And on Monday, she tweeted: “The Queen is dead. I’ve had some days to reflect, and know that people wanted me to come out ranting and raving to confirm their views of me as a crazy Blak woman.
“In the days since, I’ve seen anger and disbelief from First Nations people at the glorification of our oppressor.
“We could use this moment and momentum to empower people to democratically elect our own leader. Someone who represents all of us, uniting a country that has owned up to its past and chosen its own future.”
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Lidia Thorpe speaking out about the rights of indigenous people last year
When Ms Thorpe took her oath to office last month, she raised her fist above her head in protest and labelled Queen Elizabeth II a “colonising queen”, later comparing making the pledge to “kneeling to the murderer”.
The Queen’s death prompted First Nations people from Canada to Australia and former colonies in the Caribbean to speak out.
Veldon Coburn, an indigenous Anishinaabe professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, explained: “There’s rising popular consciousness around injustices around the world, what’s carried out in the name of one’s own nation for the exploitation of indigenous peoples.
“Almost overlapping with Queen Elizabeth’s reign, from the 1950s, you also see resistance movements emerging.”
Lidia Thorpe raises her fist in protest during the oath ceremony
The lengthy queue in London to pay tribute to the Queen during her lying in state
Meanwhile calls are growing in some Caribbean countries for reparation payments and an apology for slavery, while Canadian indigenous leaders want the monarchy to act on a swathe of historical injustices.
Australia is on a path to giving Aboriginal people a formal voice on indigenous matters in parliament, but Ms Thorpe has contrasted the government’s decision to hold a day of mourning for the Queen with the historical neglect of indigenous Australians.
She said it was “just another nail in the coffin in terms of how we feel and how we are treated as First Nations people”, adding: “It’s like we never existed.”
Opinion polls in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have all pointed to a growing view that they should end ties to the monarchy with the death of Elizabeth, even though this is unlikely anytime soon in countries like Canada.
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In New Zealand, indigenous Maori account for about 17 percent of the country’s five million people. They are well represented in parliament, Maori has been made an official language and the history of British colonisation is taught in public schools.
But Maori are over-represented in prisons and state care, and the community remains the country’s poorest.
Maori Party, co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who supports abolishing the monarchy and a New Zealand head of state, said: “If we can’t address the negativity and impacts of colonisation now, then when? Do we wait for Prince William, or Prince William’s children?
“No one taking that role, king or queen, princess or prince, is unaware of the damage of colonisation to us as indigenous peoples.”
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Lidia Thorpe talks to fellow Senator Jordan Steele-John in the Senate last year
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she expects New Zealand to become a republic eventually, but certainly not soon.
Australia’s centre-left Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who openly favours a republic, has tasked a minister with making this happen. But any change would require a referendum and is only expected if the government wins a second term.
Mr Albanese has said now is not the time to discuss the matter, but did note in a radio interview this week that the automatic ascension of King Charles was a chance “to reflect on the system that we have over a period of time”.
In Canada, polls suggest about half of all people believe the country should end ties to the monarchy with the death of Queen Elizabeth. Indigenous people account for less than five percent of Canada’s population of about 38 million and they suffer from higher levels of poverty, unemployment and a lower life expectancy than other Canadians.