‘We don’t need a new king’: Lidia Thorpe calls for Indigenous treaty then a republic | Indigenous Australians

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe – who was forced to retake her oath of allegiance after calling the Queen a coloniser – has called on the government to show “ambition” for an Indigenous treaty and a republic in the wake of Elizabeth II’s death.

The Djab Wurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara senator for Victoria said that after the Queen’s death people expected her to “come out ranting and raving to confirm their views of me as a crazy Blak woman” – but she had taken time to reflect.

Thorpe said on Monday she had seen “anger and disbelief from First Nations people at the glorification of our oppressor” and she criticised the country’s political leaders for showing “zero regard” for Indigenous people who had “been calling for Day of Mourning for over 80 years”.

“This Country has a new King. The parliament and the Prime Minister are subjugated to someone we didn’t elect. We don’t need a new King, we need a head of state chosen by the people,” Thorpe said on Twitter on Monday evening.

“The process towards being able to pick our own head of state would bring us all together – it would force us to tell the truth about our history and move us towards real action to right the wrongs that started with colonisation.

“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. That unity would be more powerful than any King.”

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.

— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) September 12, 2022

Thorpe said the most pressing priority was for the government to progress a treaty with First Nations people, saying it would help “end the war” with Indigenous Australians.

“Incarceration rates, deaths in custody and child removals are all symptoms of an ongoing war against First Nations people in this Country. Treaty is an end to the war. We have an opportunity to do things differently in this country. It’s time for the Government to show some ambition.”

Thorpe is the latest Greens member of parliament to call for a renewed debate on Australia becoming a republic. The party’s leader, Adam Bandt, said on Friday that it was time for the country to “move forward”.

Greens deputy leader senator Mehreen Faruqi also sparked a war of words with other crossbench senators after she said she “cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire built on stolen lives, land and wealth of colonised peoples”.

But amid the calls for Australia to consider electing its own head of state in place of King Charles III, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has been quick to hose down debate, saying it is a time for national mourning.

Albanese has been a longtime supporter of Australia becoming a republic but the prime minister has reiterated he will not hold a referendum on the issue in this term of government.

On Monday, he said that his priority was pushing ahead with constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Labor has vowed to hold a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament before the next election.

“I couldn’t envisage a circumstance where we changed our head of state to an Australian head of state but still didn’t recognise First Nations people in our constitution,” Albanese told the ABC on Monday.

“It’s not appropriate now … to talk about constitutional change. What is appropriate right now is to commemorate the life of service of Queen Elizabeth II.”

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