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‘I don’t hear you calling me a legend’: Lidia Thorpe confronts ABC host

It wasn't the first time firebrand Senator Lidia Thorpe has ruffled feathers. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

It wasn't the first time firebrand Senator Lidia Thorpe has ruffled feathers. Photo: AAP

Former Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has confronted the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas on air, accusing the radio host of taking sides in the debate over an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The now crossbench senator repeatedly referenced an election night tweet posted by Karvelas, in which she called Labor’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney a “legend”.

Karvelas was pictured alongside Ms Burney with the comment: “This woman is a legend and looks like she will be the next Indigenous affairs minister.”

In an uncomfortable interview on RN Breakfast on Thursday morning, Senator Thorpe said it was clear who Karvelas supported.

“You’re out there saying Burney’s a legend, so we know where your allegiances lie,” said Senator Thorpe.

“You need to allow your audiences to understand there is a progressive No.”

Later in the interview, Karvelas made a point of questioning Senator Thorpe about her apparent displeasure over the “legend” tweet.

“You’ve mentioned a few times this word ‘legend’, which is a play on me, I get it, that’s fine. But I do have a question about that.

“Given that Linda Burney was, I think she’s the first the first Aboriginal woman to enter the NSW parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to enter the lower house in the federal Parliament, does that make her a legend? I mean it’s pretty extraordinary.”

Senator Thorpe replied “absolutely” but added: “I don’t you hear calling me a legend.

“I hear your tone is very different when you interview me and that’s gotta change.

“You’ve gotta stop setting Black women up against one another and allow the truth to be told in a way that allows your listeners to get a fair and accurate account of what Black people are saying in this country.”

karvelas thorpe

Karvelas and Senator Thorpe clashed over this tweet from May 2022. Source: Twitter

Karvelas responded that the reason Senator Thorpe had been invited on the show was to hear her perspective.

Senator Thorpe, who quit the Greens over her concerns about the Voice, is yet to decide if she supports the proposal.

However, Karvelas said from the gist of their conversation it sounded like Senator Thorpe was leaning towards the “no” campaign.

Karvelas asked whether the Senator would be comfortable sitting on the same side of the fence as Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and the Liberal Party.

Senator Thorpe responded that “white progressives” were using that reason as an “excuse”.

She said it was not too late to question what the Voice would mean for Indigenous people.

“It has no power. Why is everyone so excited with their hands on their heart saying we want to give the Aborigines a powerless advisory [body])?” she said.

“We want real power. We want real justice in this country. Everything else we’ve been offered for the last 200 years has no power.”

Asked if Indigenous people would have more power if the no vote was successful, Senator Thorpe said: “We’ll have to see about that.”

The “yes” campaign was launched on Thursday in the lead-up to this year’s referendum, to be held between October and December.

Yes campaign is officially launched

PM: ‘Enormous detail’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Mr Dutton of trying to create confusion about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Mr Dutton has not revealed whether the Liberals will support the Voice but has raised repeated concerns about a lack of detail about the proposal.

Mr Albanese said there was an “enormous amount” of detail already and people could judge for themselves how genuine Mr Dutton’s concerns were.

“Peter Dutton is showing that he wants to create confusion and is doing nothing that would indicate his starting point is how we work on this together [and] how we get this done together,” Mr Albanese said in Adelaide on Thursday.

“It’s not like it’s very subtle … and it contrasts with the goodwill that is needed.”

Mr Albanese said he wanted to secure maximum support for the proposal and had agreed to Liberal demands to release a pamphlet outlining the “yes” and “no” cases.

“This is a change not for politicians. This is a change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves to give them respect,” he said.

“It’s also for non-Indigenous Australians, regardless of what their occupation is or where they live, so that we come to terms with our history and we show that we are a mature nation that can move forward together on the path of reconciliation.”

-with AAP

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