Australian senator calls British Queen a colonizer during swearing-in in parliament | Abroad

Indigenous Senator Lidia Thorpe angered the Australian Parliament for calling the British Queen a colonizer during her swearing-in ceremony. Officially Australia is still under the control of the Queen, but according to Thorpe that is completely outdated.

Thorpe, a senator from the Australian Greens, was reprimanded by her parliamentary colleagues, one of whom exclaimed: “You’re not a senator if you don’t take it seriously”. Thorpe was not in parliament last week when other senators were officially sworn in and so took her oath on Monday morning. Thorpe stood at the front of the Senate with her right fist in the air and was asked to repeat the words on a card.

“I, Sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be loyal to the colonizing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” The word “colonizing” is of course not in the formal oath. Senate President Sue Lines interrupted as other senators began shouting. “You are obliged to repeat the oath as it is on the card,” Lines told the Greens senator. Please take the oath.”

Thorpe later tweeted “sovereignty never ceded” while sharing a photo of her swearing in.

“Colonial project”

Section 42 of the Australian Constitution states that “every Senator and every member of the House of Representatives must swear and endorse”. But Professor Anne Twomey, a constitutional expert at the University of Sydney, said it was unclear whether not taking the oath would prevent someone from taking their place in the federal parliament. “As this is an internal procedure in Parliament, I doubt it is legally enforceable,” she told Guardian Australia.

Thorpe last month described Australia as a “colonial project” and said the national flag does not represent it. “The flag represents the colonization of this country and is not allowed to be here. There has never been permission, there is no treaty, so that flag does not represent me,” she told Channel 10.

The assistant minister for the republic, Matt Thistlethwaite, also told newspapers last week that swearing allegiance to the queen is “archaic and ridiculous”. “It’s not representative of the Australia we live in and it proves once again why we should start talking about a republic with its own head of state,” he said. “We are no longer British”.