Lidia Thorpe: Why Greens Senator is not fit for parliament

Home Politics Lidia Thorpe: Why Greens Senator is not fit for parliament
Lidia Thorpe: Why Greens Senator is not fit for parliament

Napoleon once said you should never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake and so I am reluctant to weigh in on the subject of Lidia Thorpe while she is doing such a good job of destroying the Greens.

However, it is possible she may also destroy something good in the process and so the nation must be warned.

For virtually everyone in politics aside from her own party, Senator Thorpe is nothing short of a gift from God.

For those in the sensible centre and centre-left she is the consummate proof of the Greens’ lunatic and delinquent political orthodoxy. In both word and deed she behaves like an unstable undergraduate revolutionary of the kind that many of us were before we grew up and started paying taxes.

As she has demonstrated time and again, Senator Thorpe is not fit for Parliament. Indeed, she treats the very institution which provides her top-tier salary and privileged platform with undisguised contempt, from sabotaging her own swearing-in to celebrating the burning of our first Parliament House.

Moreover, she professes to be a champion of empowering women and Indigenous people and yet her two most disgraceful outbursts were vile verbal attacks on a female Senate colleague and a female First Nations elder.

And by continuing to offer Senator Thorpe unqualified support – perhaps because without her they are whiter than a polar bear in a snowstorm – the Greens are explicitly accepting and implicitly endorsing this behaviour.

As a result there has never been a more powerful advertisement for their collective extremism, nor any greater incentive for any left-of-centre citizen to abandon the Greens and return to the Australian Labor Party. So far, so good.

On the other side of the spectrum, Senator Thorpe is also manna from heaven for the far right, which played out almost poetically this week.

After Pauline Hanson’s ugly social media attack on Mehreen Faruqi – in which she told the Greens Senator to “p*ss off back to Pakistan” – there was righteous fury from the left.

Yet as soon as the outrage arose it was instantly cancelled out by the fact that the Greens have repeatedly refused to condemn or even mildly sanction Senator Thorpe for her own catalogue of outrages.

Indeed, this was acutely demonstrated by no less a figure than Waleed Aly, who left Senator Faruqi all but speechless on The Project when he laid bare the Greens’ hypocrisy.

Of course Senator Faruqi is not responsible for Senator Thorpe’s behaviour but she has been brought undone by both the actions themselves and her party’s failure to refute it. To quote a far-left mantra, it’s the company you keep.

On a broader global scale this is essentially the problem with politics everywhere. The more radical the left gets, the more reactionary the right gets. Extremism begets extremism.

The examples are both multiple and manifest. Trumpism arises in blue-collar Middle America in opposition to woke campus ideology and wealthy coastal elites. The Brexit movement flourishes in the working-class north of England in opposition to the cosmopolitan urban south.

And most recently, Italy has produced its first female Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, a working-class daughter of a single mother, but don’t expect the feminist left to celebrate that.

Ms Meloni is an unashamed champion of traditional values, already known worldwide for her 2019 declaration: “I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian.” Unremarkable, one might think, but her party also has a very dark history, with links to members of Mussolini’s fascists. Yet European fascists themselves rose to power on the back of fear of European communists.

Once more, extremism begets extremism.

And this brings us back to Lidia Thorpe, who is of the left and yet the greatest ally those on the right could ever hope for when it comes to blocking an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

As you would expect from someone extreme, Thorpe opposes the Voice because it isn’t extreme. It is moderate, sensible and pragmatic.

Senator Thorpe’s opposition to the Voice ought to be its greatest endorsement but sadly she has the potential to derail what is potentially our most profound national step since federation.

She calls it a “waste of money”, which is exactly what its opponents on the right say.

In fact it is an unprecedented effort to finally eliminate the waste of money that has been directed at Indigenous communities without those communities having a say in how it is directed.

She calls it “symbolism”, which is exactly what its opponents on the right say.

In fact, it is an unprecedented effort to deliver better services to Indigenous people via direct feedback instead of bureaucratic box-ticking.

But the most telling and predictable thing about Senator Thorpe’s absurd outlying position is how enthusiastically the right have embraced it.

Many conservatives decry the Voice because they think it is a vessel for dangerous radicals like Senator Thorpe herself while the rest point to her opposition as justification for their own opposition. I see and hear it every day.

And so Lidia Thorpe has miraculously managed to unite the hard left and half the right against this historic milestone that could potentially deliver so much for First Nations people

– just as Phil Cleary did with the republican referendum.

Remember this if it fails.

Read related topics:Joe Hildebrand

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