Lidia Thorpe leaves the Green party to pursue black supremacy

Victorian senator Lidia Thorpe has announced that she is resigning from the Greens and will move to the crossbench.

Thorpe made the announcement at a press conference in Canberra on Monday evening, after it was first reported by Guardian Australia.

Related: The Greens hoped to back an indigenous voice to parliament after Lidia Thorpe quit the party

“I told the Greens [leader] Adam Bandt and the president of the Senate that I am resigning from the Greens to sit on the crossbench of the Senate,” said Thorpe.

“This country has a strong black supremacy movement, full of strong and dedicated warriors, and I want to fully represent that movement in this parliament. It is clear to me that I cannot do that from within the Greens.

“Now I will be able to speak freely on all issues from a sovereign perspective without being constrained by agreed party portfolios and positions.

“Green MPs, members and supporters have told me they want to support the voice. This is contradicting the community of activists who are saying a contract before voice.”

Related: In the bias and confusion surrounding the Native voice, the media has a particular responsibility Lorry Taylor

Thorpe said her “ancestors and matriarchs” urged her to “keep on infiltrating” and “keep [their] live fight”.

Thorpe said she would not reveal how she would vote on the voice of parliament. She previously said she would oppose the body if she is not satisfied that it “guarantees that First Nations sovereignty is not surrendered”.

Thorpe thanked Bandt and Greens deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi, who she said were “strong allies” and supported “pushing the government to go further with truth and the treaty”.

Thorpe said she did not intend to “comment further” about her time in the Greens, ending the statement to the media without taking questions.

Greens backbenchers have grappled with the possibility that Thorpe could quit the crossbench since her public comments criticizing the referendum to include the Indigenous voice in the constitution and a formal announcement that she cannot support the voice for parliament unless it is accompanied by an ID for Native. heaven

Under an agreement struck in the party chamber last week, Thorpe was allowed to vote against the proposal and the Greens decide whether to support the referendum. They are expected to announce their position this week.

Bandt said he was “really sad” that Thorpe had resigned.

“I told Lidia that I felt she could continue to support black supremacy within the Greens,” he told reporters in Canberra. “She obviously has a different perspective.”

Bandt revealed that he had offered Thorpe to remain the Greens’ first nation spokesperson, suggesting that he take responsibility for the voice and respect her right to take a different position for the party on that issue.

Bandt said the Greens wanted to “progress on all aspects of the Uluru statement wholeheartedly”, but he would not “predict” the party’s final position on the referendum on voting.

Anthony Albanese, constitutional experts and the expert group have said that the voice will have no impact on the sovereignty of the First Nations.

Thorpe wrote to the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, with a deadline of February 1 asking for further confirmation, as a formal recognition that Indigenous sovereignty was never surrendered in the referendum bill.

Although the Albanian government is wholeheartedly promoting all three aspects of the Uluru statement, Labor considers the Greens’ policy of pursuing truth, contract and voice in that order to be a danger to the ‘yes’ campaign. in the referendum.

In October Labor set aside $5.8m to start work on establishing the Makarrata commission, which would “oversee processes for agreement and truth-telling”.

Although Bandt and Faruqi supported Thorpe continuing as First Nations spokesperson on the basis that the voice is a small part of the portfolio, members of the party room privately questioned whether that was viable in a referendum campaign year.

Last week the Greens held a two-day retreat in Mount Macedon to discuss their 2023 strategy. Despite reports Thorpe would participate remotely, Guardian Australia understands the Victorian senator did not participate.

Related: Indigenous voice legislation to be introduced this parliamentary term if referendum passes, says PM

In November Thorpe added her name to the establishment of an inquiry into Indigenous bodies that was being pushed by some of the Coalition’s most vocal opponents, before Bandt and party colleagues forced them to withdraw.

Thorpe blamed an “administrative error” for her support of the motion, which is due to be voted on as early as Tuesday, after Senate business was delayed on Monday by a motion of condolence for former senator Jim Molan.

Thorpe joined the Senate in September 2020, filling the vacancy left by former Greens leader Richard Di Natale. She was elected in the 2022 election to a fresh six-year term to expire in 2028.

Bandt claimed that the situation was “more or less the same in the Senate” with the support of the Greens essential whenever the opposition does not agree with the government.

The enlarged crossbench will mean Labor needs the remaining 11 Greens and two extra votes to pass bills in the upper house, forcing it to rely on a combination of independent David Pocock, the Jacqui Lambie Network, Thorpe, One Nation or the party of United Australia.

On Monday Thorpe said she would continue to vote with the Greens on climate.

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