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AFP treatment of Lidia Thorpe ‘disturbing’: Burney



Australian Indigenous Minister Linda Burney says she is disturbed and concerned about how police mistreated Senator Lidia Thorpe at a protest in Canberra.

Video footage from Thursday showed police grabbed Senator Thorpe and physically restrained him to the ground after he attempted to confront transgender rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, in front of Parliament House.

Senator Thorpe, who called the activists’ words transphobic and was draped in the Aboriginal flag, later joined a counter-protest.

She later said she had been “pulverized” and that Ms Keen-Minshull should not be allowed to speak on Aboriginal land.

The Australian Federal Police said their interactions were being reviewed and the incident had been referred to the police’s professional standards command.

Burney said the incident was concerning.

“I have seen the images and they are disturbing and worrying,” he told ABC Radio.

“My concern is for Lidia, I hope she is receiving the support she should receive, and I think the fact that she has been referred to the professional standards unit is absolutely appropriate.

“The real issue is making sure their well-being is okay.”

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus agreed that it was “troubling” to see Senator Thorpe walk away after the altercation with police.

“I have sought urgent advice from the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police,” he said.

Other politicians, however, criticized Senator Thorpe for her actions at the Let Women Speak rally. Opposition leader Peter Dutton described it as “shameful”.

“The Australian Federal Police should not have to waste their resources dealing with tricks from Senator Thorpe,” he said.

“It was a pathetic display and she should be ashamed of her behavior.”

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who was standing near Ms Keen-Minshull when the incident occurred, also took aim at the cross-bench senator.

“You can see me in the pictures anyway in the white dress, that was me and I was disgusted with his actions coming there to protest carrying the Aboriginal flag,” Senator Hanson told Sky News Australia.

He said he did not hear everything Senator Thorpe was saying, although he did hear the phrase “you are on aboriginal land.”

“(These) are her actions all the time, she wants relevance all the time, she’s trying to make a name for herself,” Senator Hanson said.

The Let Women Speak protests have been the subject of controversy since last Saturday’s rally in Melbourne, which drew men dressed in black who gave the Nazi salute.

Ms Keen-Minshull has denied any links to Nazism, accusing the Melbourne group of trying to hijack her events.

At a rally in Hobart on Wednesday, she was largely drowned out by a counter-protest by pro-trans rights activists.

– with AAP

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