“I Feel Really Uncomfortable”: Lidia Thorpe Defends Her “Colonising” Oath
“We need to put a mirror up to ourselves as a nation and look at who we are swearing our allegiance to and what that actually means for us as everyday people in this country."
Greens Senator and Djab Wurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe has defended her decision to call the Queen a coloniser when asked to swear allegiance, claiming she was trying to inform the Australian public of the reality of the oath.
On Monday, Thorpe was forced to repeat the oath of allegiance for Australian parliamentarians after she initially described the Queen as “colonising”.
“I sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and I bear true allegiance to the colonising her majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Thorpe in her initial oath, before being forced to read it word for word.
She eventually swore allegiance, albeit begrudgingly, but took to social media to remind Australians that “sovereignty never ceded”.
Sovereignty never ceded. https://t.co/OowLrlUApy
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) August 1, 2022
Thorpe — who was recently accused of ceding sovereignty by entering politics — later defended her decision to boycott the oath in an interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
In the interview, Thorpe asserted that she “was certainly told [she] wouldn’t be able to take [her] seat” unless she swore allegiance.
“My tone was the tone that you use when you really really don’t want to do something and you’re being forced to do it,” she told Mitchell when asked about her allegedly sarcastic tone. “To be told that I have to swear allegiance to a Queen from another country, I feel really uncomfortable about that, given I am a First Nations woman and my allegiance is to this country and the people of this country, not to a queen who lives in England and has not been elected.”
When accused by Mitchell of making a “false oath” and questioned on why she would be in Parliament if she thought it was “illegitimate”, Thorpe stressed the importance of her representation.
“I want to a First Nations perspective to this place that allows this country to mature,” said Thorpe, adding that improving the country requires truth-telling. “Part of making it better Neil, and this is the uncomfortable part unfortunately, is there needs to be truth telling as part of the process.”
Thorpe stressed that Australia does not have a treaty with First Nations people and that there is nothing wrong with telling the truth about colonisation, but added that she still believes we can change things.
“We can come together and change this parliament and change this country,” said Thorpe. “We need to put a mirror up to ourselves as a nation and look at who we are swearing our allegiance to and what that actually means for us as everyday people in this country.”