An Australian senator had to repeat her oath of office after she called Queen Elizabeth a colonizer during her installation in office.
The politician, Lidia Thorpe of the Australian Green Party, also raised her fist in the Black Power salute during the ceremony on Aug. 1.
“I, sovereign Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful, and I bear true allegiance to the colonizing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Thorpe could be heard saying before she was cut off by the Senate President Sue Lines.
Lines asked Thorpe the recite the oath “as printed on the card.”
“You’re not a senator if you don’t do it properly,” another senator in the chamber could be heard saying, per Fox News.
Thorpe ultimately complied, using the official phrase, “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law.”
After the ceremony, Thorpe retweeted an image of herself with the caption “Sovereignty never ceded.”
Sovereignty never ceded. https://t.co/OowLrlUApy
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) August 1, 2022
Australia gained de facto independence in 1901 after being a British colony for more than 100 years. The nation is a constitutional monarchy and is not an independent republic.
An effort to remove the queen as the head of state was defeated in 1999 after the debate over who would select her replacement – the public or parliament – fell apart without resolution.
The United Kingdom’s monarch is not involved with Australia’s day-to-day operations.
“Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite later argued it is ridiculous that Australian MPs are required to swear allegiance to the Queen and insisted another republic referendum is needed,” reports The Express.
Thorpe is the first Aboriginal senator from Victoria. She was first elected to parliament in 2020.
At her first swearing-in ceremony, Thorpe held “a message stick burned with 441 marks, one for each death in custody since the handing down of the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991” according to the Green Party.
“In order to reconcile our nation, we need to face some uncomfortable truths about our past, and about our present,” she said in a statement. “Only once truth-telling takes place and once the nation hears all our voices, can we create a country we can all be proud of and face our future challenges together. I will be part of that truth-telling, and help bring us together.”
Some Australians have said Thorpe’s colonizer comment was disrespectful and unproductive.
“You don’t think it was disrespectful to say it? Have a debate about that,” said radio host Neil Mitchell during an interview with Thorpe on Aug. 2. “By all means, there’s no problem with that but to be there with the Black Power salute, sarcastic tone and describing the queen as a colonizer is divisive and destructive at a time where we need a unity of purpose.”
Thorpe responded by saying Australians need to know “the truth” and that the entire country was founded “based on a lie.”
“This country was invaded and this country does not have an agreement with its first peoples,’’ she said.