AFP treatment of Lidia Thorpe ‘disturbing’: Burney

Incident between Lidia Thorpe and police under investigation

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney says she is disturbed and concerned by how Senator Lidia Thorpe was manhandled by police at a Canberra protest.

Video footage on Thursday showed Senator Thorpe being grabbed by police and physically held to the ground after trying to confront anti-transgender rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, outside Parliament House.

Senator Thorpe, who has labelled the activists’s words as transphobic and was draped in the Aboriginal flag, then joined a counter-protest.

She later said she had been “pulverised”, and that Ms Keen-Minshull should not be allowed to speak on Aboriginal land.

The Australian Federal Police said its interactions were being reviewed and the incident had been referred to the police professional standards command.

Ms Burney said the incident was worrying.

“I’ve seen the footage, and it’s disturbing and concerning,” she told ABC Radio.

“My concern is for Lidia, I hope she’s getting the support that she should get, and I think the fact that it has been referred to the professional standards unit is absolutely appropriate.

“The real issue is to make sure that her wellbeing, her welfare is OK.”

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus agreed it was “concerning” to see Senator Thorpe crawling away after the altercation with police.

“I have sought urgent advice from the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police,” he said.

Other politicians, however, criticised Senator Thorpe for her actions at the Let Women Speak rally. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton described it as “shameful”.

“The Australian Federal Police should not have to waste their resources in dealing with stunts from Senator Thorpe,” he said.

“It was a pathetic display and she should be embarrassed at her behaviour.”

One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson – who was standing near Ms Keen-Minshull when the incident occurred – also took aim at the crossbench senator.

“You can see me in the footage anyway in the white dress, that was me and I was disgusted with her actions of her coming there to protest carrying the Aboriginal flag,” Senator Hanson told Sky News Australia.

She said she didn’t hear all of what Senator Thorpe was saying, though she did hear the phrase “you’re on Aboriginal land”.

“[These] are her actions all the time, she wants relevance all the time, she’s trying to make a name for herself,” Senator Hanson said.

The Let Women Speak protests have been the subject of controversy since last Saturday’s rally in Melbourne, which drew men dressed in black who performed the Nazi salute.

Ms Keen-Minshull has denied any links to Nazism, accusing the Melbourne group of trying to hijack her events.

At a rally in Hobart on Wednesday, she was largely drowned out by a counter-protest of pro-trans rights activists.

– with AAP

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