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Lidia Thorpe calls for renewed efforts toward Treaty after Voice defeated

Jarred Cross -

Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe has reiterated her call for treaty following Saturday’s failed referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution.

The Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman had campaigned against the proposal in favour of treaty, cutting ties with the Greens on this basis in February after the party endorsed the proposal. 

Senator Thorpe has led the Blak Sovereign Movement in her efforts.

Her campaigning has come with a backlash, including threats, she said has placed her life in danger.

Earlier, Senator Thorpe said she was “sad for our people” having to endure the hurt caused throughout the public debate and focus. 

“We have to not allow our people to be so downtrodden once again, because that seems to be so repetitive in this country... we need to rebuild,” she said.

Senator Thorpe asked for a focus on grassroots work and concerns, which she said had been left behind while the Voice debate played out.

Last week, she stated a failed referendum would be a “victory”. 

On Sunday she described the result as “a win for the Blak Sovereign Movement, a win for the Sovereign rights of First Peoples to Self-Determine their own destiny, and do not wish to be part of the racist colonial constitution”.

“This result marks an end to the era of powerless advisory bodies. It is a win for the Blak Sovereign Movement and First Peoples who are fighting for justice and the protection of the Sovereignty of over 250 First Peoples language groups across this continent,” she said.

“A large number of First Peoples voted no and have been against this referendum from the beginning. There were many others that voted no out of love and solidarity with First Peoples fighting for justice.

“This referendum has caused nothing but harm to First Peoples. From the start I argued it shouldn’t happen before Truth and Treaty and I requested that the Prime Minister cancel the referendum once the degree of harm was clear.

“It has been a disastrous political exercise that has wasted over $450 million during a cost of living crisis and a housing crisis.”

Senator Thorpe said the Voice being rejected represented a “blank canvas” for from which "Sovereignty, land rights and Self-Determination" can grow.

She asked for “grassroots mob, activists, and allies” to invest their efforts and networks into empowering their communities. 

“We must continue to pressure the federal government to begin Treaty-making, implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people and implement in full the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing Them Home report that have been ignored for decades,” Senator Thorpe said.

Senator Thorpe called for Anthony Albanese to sit with the Blak Sovereign Movement and continue a commitment to truth-telling and treaty as outlined in the Uluru Statement. 

She said state-based treaties are not enough.

As reported by the Herald Sun, Senator Thorpe said there was “no time for a week of mourning” as announced by some Indigenous leaders at the weekend. 

“People need to rise above all of that now and have these conversations that have been put off for far too long in this country and that is truth telling,” she said.

“I’m going to Parliament tomorrow morning, I don’t have a week of mourning available.

“I’ll continue to fight injustices that continue to happen to our people.”


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