Lidia Thorpe: The Greens have been dumped

But by definition, a referendum undermines the orthodoxy of staying in one’s lane. All of us, indigenous or otherwise, are asked for our opinion on tinkering with the constitution in order to recognize an indigenous voice. Non-Indigenous Australians are asked to weigh the conflicting views of Indigenous Australians – yes proponents Marcia Langton, Noel Pearson and Linda Burney versus no activists Warren Mundine, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and most likely Thorpe – and their respective and compelling life experiences. and the views of many others as well when deciding how to vote.


The Voice, if adopted, would not be the last word on politics; the panel’s view would be persuasive but not decisive. The government would still be the final arbiter. Both in process and in substance, the Voice proposal is not compatible with the identity-political absolutism of the Greens.

And whatever Thorpe’s appeal to the moral superiority of sovereignty, she pleaded for a morally dubious outcome: an outright “no” to the question of whether Indigenous Australians should have the right to be heard through a mechanism that is critical Mass indigenous representatives have reached advocates.

This cognitive dissonance hurt the Greens, whose voters are reportedly even more supportive of The Voice than Labor. Thorpe’s resignation arose from the realization that she could no longer claim exclusive responsibility for the debate, even within her party.

None of this should faze the Greens, because they have walked both sides of the street in the Voice debate, a stance every bit as cynical as the Liberals’ gentle undermining of the proposal by demanding more “details”. This brings us to the second pathology of the left: its entrenched hostility to enduring social democratic reform. We anticipate the Greens’ ritualized Ambit claim, which positions the party as a pursuit of an unattainable ideal. Yes, we can raise it again: The Greens failed to support Kevin Rudd’s less-than-perfect Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009. And almost 15 years later, this country still has no permanent mechanism, perfect or not, to reduce emissions.


Many of the party’s supporters may be drawn to Thorpe’s radical chic. The uncomfortable truth is that outflanking Labor from the left remains the Greens’ core task, if not their raison d’être. This also applies if this time the contradictions became unmanageable and the party now backs the vote.

Green Party leader Adam Bandt works on how “unfortunately”, how “really sad” he is that Thorpe has split. And that says it all. In the end, Thorpe dropped the Greens and not the other way around, to the party’s enduring shame.

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Callan Tansill

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