Lidia Thorpe

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Lidia Thorpe
Lidia Thorpe 2020.png
Senator for Victoria
Assumed office
4 September 2020
Preceded byRichard Di Natale
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Northcote
In office
18 November 2017 – 24 November 2018
Preceded byFiona Richardson
Succeeded byKat Theophanous
Personal details
Born (1973-08-18) 18 August 1973 (age 47)
Carlton, Victoria, Australia[1]
Political partyGreens
WebsiteOfficial website

Lidia Alma Thorpe (born 18 August 1973)[2] is an Australian politician, businesswoman and activist. She is currently a Senator for Victoria, representing the Australian Greens, and is also the first Aboriginal Senator from Victoria.[3] She is a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman.

Thorpe has also previously been a member of the Victorian Parliament, having been the member for the division of Northcote in the Legislative Assembly from 2017 to 2018. She won the Northcote state by-election on 18 November 2017 to become the first Aboriginal woman elected to the state Parliament.[4]

Early career[edit]

Thorpe, a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman, was the managing director of Clan Corporation, a sustainable housing and renewable energy business catering to remote Aboriginal communities. She was also the chair of the Victorian NAIDOC Committee.[5][6] Thorpe has also worked as the Aboriginal employment adviser for the Municipal Association of Victoria, was president of the Lakes Entrance Basketball Association for three years, school council member of the Nowa Nowa Primary School, a steering committee member for Indigenous Administrators, a member of Community of Practice, a member of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria), and a project manager with the East Gippsland Shire Council, where she addressed disadvantage in Lakes Entrance through the Advancing Country Towns Project.[7]

Thorpe's grandmother, Alma Thorpe, was one of the founders of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.[8][9]

Political career[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly[edit]

Thorpe at a rally in Melbourne in 2019.

Thorpe won the seat of Northcote at the 2017 by-election after receiving 45.22% of the primary vote, giving her a winning distribution of 50.93%, 11% more than the Labor candidate.[10] Thorpe was sworn in as a member of parliament on 28 November 2017 and she delivered her first speech to the Assembly the following day.[11]

Thorpe was the Australian Greens Victoria portfolio holder for Aboriginal Justice, Consumer Affairs, Skills and Training, Sport and Mental Health.[12]

In May 2018 Thorpe organised a historic gathering of Aboriginal Elders in the parliament of Victoria to discuss the state's treaty processes. The meeting was organised as part of Thorpe's campaign to implement clan-based treaties, which would recognise the approximately 100 Aboriginal clans in Victoria. At the time Thorpe said "Our sovereignty and each of our language groups and our Clans must be clearly recognised in the government's treaty advancement legislation."[13] The delegation of Clan Elders unanimously agreed to form an Elder's Council. Thorpe supported the Victorian government's 2018 Treaty bill, but stated that she would continue to push for clan sovereignty to be recognised as the Treaty process advances.[14]

Thorpe lost her seat to Labor candidate Kat Theophanous at the 2018 Victorian state election. She told ABC Radio Melbourne that "We need to have a good look at ourselves and have a review of what this election has done to our party, losing quite a considerable amount of Greens members". She said Labor ran a "dirty campaign" against her but conceded that negative coverage due to internal scandals had also contributed to her defeat.[15]


Lidia Thorpe being sworn into parliament in October 2020.

In June 2020 Thorpe was preselected by Victorian Greens members to fill the federal Senate vacancy caused by former leader Richard Di Natale's resignation.[16] She was appointed to the vacancy at a joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament on 4 September, and was sworn in on 6 October 2020.[3][17] She is the first Aboriginal woman to represent Victoria in the Senate and is the first Aboriginal federal parliamentarian from the Greens.[16]


Thorpe is a leader of the Pay the Rent campaign, which calls on non-Aboriginal Australians to voluntarily pay reparations on an individual basis through an organisation of the same name.[18] She is the facilitator of the organisation's emerging Sovereign Body component, which is "based on the notion of community-control and Sovereignty and will have complete authority over how the monies are spent".[19]

Thorpe has been critical of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, believing there should be a treaty before an Indigenous voice to government. Thorpe led a walk-out of the Uluru convention, believing that it was "hijacked by Aboriginal corporations and establishment appointments and did not reflect the aspirations of ordinary Indigenous people".[20]

On 26 January 2019, an inaugural dawn service organised by Thorpe was held at the Kings Domain Resting Place as a day of mourning and reflection of the colonisation of Australia with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal People in attendance for the ceremony.[21] The dawn service has become an annual event in Melbourne.

Personal life[edit]

Thorpe has three children and first became a mother at the age of 17.[22][23][24] She also has two granddaughters.

Thorpe shares care of her youngest child with her ex-husband who has "worked to 'turn his life around and to be a good dad to our daughter'".[25] In 2013 she was declared bankrupt with $600,000 in debts including $55,000 to the Australian Taxation Office. She has attributed her bankruptcy to domestic violence, stating "like many survivors of family violence, I ended up losing everything in a bid to protect myself and my family from an impossible situation".[25]


  1. ^ "Senator Lidia Thorpe". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  2. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (29 November 2017). "Lidia Thorpe 'finds her voice', the first Indigenous woman to do so in Victorian parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Vic endorses Thorpe as new Greens senator". Canberra Times. 4 September 2020.
  4. ^ Raue, Ben (19 November 2017). "Northcote byelection: Greens' Lidia Thorpe takes Melbourne seat from Labor". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Green, Antony. "Northcote by-election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Towell, Noel; Preiss, Benjamin (11 September 2017). "Northcote by-election: Greens pick their woman for key battle of the north". The Age.
  7. ^ "Lidia Thorpe: Emerging Leader 2008 - 2009". Retrieved 15 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "2011 Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll - Alma Thorpe". State Government of Victoria. 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  9. ^ New Greens MP Lidia Thorpe's long road from Nowa Nowa to Northcote, The Age, 19 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Northcote District By-election 2017 : Northcote District". VEC. Retrieved 9 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "State's first Aboriginal woman MP Lidia Thorpe speaks of genocide, lingering disadvantage". The Age. 29 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Lidia Thorpe MLA for Northcote". The Greens Victoria. Retrieved 9 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Victorian Elders call for Clan-based treaties and more inclusion in process". NITV. Retrieved 15 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Victoria passes Aboriginal treaty bill". The Age. Retrieved 15 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Victorian election should prompt Greens to take a 'good look at ourselves', losing Northcote MP says
  16. ^ a b "Aboriginal activist Lidia Thorpe to replace Richard Di Natale as Greens senator for Victoria". The Guardian. 20 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  17. ^ Brett Mason (6 October 2020). "Senator @lidia__thorpe arrives on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country carrying a Message Stick "memorialising the 441 First Nations people who have died in custody without justice" #auspol @SBSNews @NITV". SBS News. Twitter.
  18. ^ Lidia Thorpe (26 January 2020). "This invasion day, we're asking you to pay the rent". The Big Smoke.
  19. ^ "About Us". Pay The Rent.
  20. ^ Grand, Chip Le (25 June 2020). "Without treaty, incoming senator can't feel part of 'Team Australia'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (26 January 2019). "'Overwhelmed': Hundreds attend first dawn service to be held on Australia Day". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Lidia Thorpe website". Archived from the original on 21 June 2020.
  23. ^ Lidia Thorpe, Australian Greens Victoria
  24. ^ "Senate Hansard - Wednesday, 2 December 2020". Parliament of Australia. 2 December 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ a b Hore, Monique (26 October 2017). "Greens Northcote candidate reveals abusive relationship led to her bankruptcy". Herald Sun. Retrieved 5 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Fiona Richardson
Member for Northcote
Succeeded by
Kat Theophanous