It’s ‘unparliamentary’ to call out racism, but not unparliamentary to be racist


Today, Liberal Senator Alex Antic used his two minute statement to complain about the “threat” of critical race theory and “victimhood.” Senator Lidia Thorpe called these comments racist. Senator James McGrath called for Senator Thorpe to withdraw her comments. 

Senator Thorpe refused, saying that she was simply stating a fact. Senator Mehreen Faruqi asked why those calling out racism were asked to withdraw, yet there are no consequences for being racist.

The following lines are attributable to Senator Lidia Thorpe:

“This parliament punishes Blak women for calling out racism, yet there are no consequences for being racist in the Senate Chamber. I am not safe in this workplace.”

“The Jenkins report talks about the ‘intersection of multiple forms of discrimination and harassment (...) on the basis of gender, age, race, disability and sexual orientation’ as well as the importance of everyone feeling ‘safe and welcome to contribute.’

“If I didn’t withdraw, I could have been kicked out of the Chamber for a day and The Greens would be down a vote. They cut off my microphone and told me to withdraw my comment. How is that creating a workplace where everyone is ‘safe and welcome to contribute’?!

“It’s ‘unparliamentary’ to call out racism, but not unparliamentary to be racist. Racism is a disease in this Country. It’s violent and literally makes people sick. We need an anti-racist code of conduct for MP's to be accelerated and implemented to stop this from happening in the first place.”