After becoming Victoria’s first female Aboriginal MP, Lidia Thorpe is now in the running to represent her home state in the Senate.

A staunch and strong leader, Thorpe hopes to fill the shoes of former Greens Leader, Richard Di Natale, who announced his resignation from politics earlier this year due to family commitments.

A proud Gunnai-Kurnai and Gunditjmara woman, Thorpe is the former member for Northcote, a role she took on in November 2017.

Thorpe confirmed her candidacy to NIT but said she was unable to speak further on the matter.

However, the new candidate released a statement via Facebook on May 7 about her nomination.

“It’s time to put a strong, passionate, activist woman of colour—and the Greens’ first ever Aboriginal representative—into Federal Parliament,” Thorpe wrote.

In her statement Thorpe spoke of the impacts of COVID-19 and the need to rebuild with a stronger foundation.

“We can’t allow governments to put climate action on the back burner, when we started this year with the largest bushfires in history,” she wrote.

“We’ve seen the inequalities in how this pandemic is affecting Australians, from low-income vulnerable workers on the front-line who are unable to stay home, to police targeting First Nations people and activists with fines.”

“We can’t allow these things to be business as usual. Things have to change.”

Thorpe will be pushing for a ‘Green New Deal’ which includes clean energy, fixing inequality, squashing corporate influence in politics, addressing the harms of the past and ensuring “every Australian starts from the same starting line and has the same fighting chance.”

Throughout her career, Thorpe has been a powerful advocate for her people and, upon her announcement, she said she feels prepared to step into the role.

“As a strong Black woman who grew up in public housing, a single mother, a survivor of family violence who went on to advocate for women’s rights, who has sat in front of bulldozers and negotiated at last year’s [United Nations] COP 25 climate change treaty negotiations in Madrid, I couldn’t be more ready to meet the challenge of Federal Parliament,” she wrote.

To pursue the Victorian seat, Thorpe has taken leave from her position as Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Lead. Amnesty International Australia have sought internal support for the Indigenous Rights area whilst Thorpe is absent.

One of nine Greens candidates running for the Senate position, Thorpe is the only Aboriginal candidate.

Di Natale’s term as Senator was due to end at the next Federal election, which is due to take place in 2022.

A spokesperson for the Victorian Greens said they are currently in the process of democratically electing Di Natale’s replacement who will take his seat and serve until the Federal election. The candidate who replaces Di Natale will then be up for election against other running candidates.

Di Natale stepped into his Senate role in 2010 and was re-elected in 2016. He was elected as leader of the Greens in 2015.

Adam Bandt, Federal Member for Melbourne, was elected as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, taking over from Di Natale unopposed.

By Rachael Knowles