Former Green senator Lidia Thorpe took on Patricia Karvelas in an on-air showdown, calling out the ABC host for her tweet calling Indian Affairs Minister Linda Burney a “legend”.
In May, Karvelas tweeted a photo of herself on election night with the Labor cabinet minister in charge of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, captioned “This woman is a legend.”
But in an awkward and fiery interview on Radio Nacional on Thursday morning, the independent indigenous senator responded to Karvelas: “I don’t hear you call me a legend.”
“You’re out there saying, ‘Burney is a legend,’ so we know where your loyalties lie,” he snapped. You have to stop pitting black women against each other.
Former Green senator Lidia Thorpe confronted ABC presenter Patricia Karvelas (left) over her tweet calling Indian Affairs Minister Linda Burney (right) a ‘legend’ in an ugly on-air dispute.
Indigenous Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) responded to Patricia Karvelas: “I don’t hear you call me a legend”
Karvelas escaped with a slap on the wrist from ABC bosses over the ‘Legend’ tweet and was defended by ABC CEO David Anderson in November.
He told the Senate Estimates hearing that he did not believe the publication would harm ABC’s “reputation for fairness and independence” and said there was “no political bias.”
Staff were warned against using social media in 2021 after several libel cases involving senior journalists and ABC admitted last month that it had “warned” Ms Karvelas about the post.
On Thursday, Ms Thorpe repeatedly referred to the tweet during a 13-minute interview on Radio National.
“You’ve mentioned this word ‘legend’ several times, which is a game on me,” Karvelas said as the interview drew to a close.
‘I get it, okay, but I have a question about it.
“Given that Linda Burney was the first Aboriginal woman to enter the New South Wales Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to enter the lower house of the federal parliament, doesn’t that make her something of a legend?”
Ms Thorpe replied: ‘Brilliant. Absolutely. That is the media lens on a legendary black woman that I absolutely agree with.
But he added: “Your tone is very different when you interview me and that has to change.”
The row over the tweet erupted when Karvelas questioned Ms Thorpe about the impact a No vote in the referendum would have on advancing indigenous rights.
Ms Thorpe resigned from the Greens to be independent on the crusading benches fighting for the ‘Black Sovereign Movement’ and demanding a treaty before the Voice.
At one point, the couple spoke to each other and Ms Thorpe snapped: ‘You don’t want progressives to hear this, do you PK?
‘You need to let your audiences understand that there is a progressive No and that we are not focusing on the day after the referendum.
Today we are focusing on survival.
She told Karvelas that he has yet to make a final decision on supporting Voice, but called him powerless, questioning: “Why is everyone so excited?
“We deserve better than a powerless Voice,” he said. We need a treaty. We want real power. We want true justice in this country.
“Everything else we’ve been offered for the last 200 years is powerless.”
Patricia Karvelas (pictured) escaped with a slap on the wrist from ABC bosses over the ‘Leyenda’ tweet and was defended by ABC CEO David Anderson in November.
Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) resigned from the Greens to be independent on the crusading benches fighting for the ‘Black Sovereign Movement’ and demanding a treaty before the Voice.
He said it was “systemic racism” to argue that he could “end up on the side of Peter Dutton and the liberals” if he opposes Voice.
“I’m concerned that white progressives will use that as an excuse,” he said.
‘That’s part of the problem, you know, if you vote you’re not going to get Peter Dutton or Pauline Hanson.
‘So that’s another way of taking the voice away from those grassroots black guys who have a non-progressive that white progressives don’t want to hear.
“And that’s part of the problem: there’s systemic racism, and ‘hand on heart, save Aboriginal people, give them a voice, give them advisory power’, no power.”
She said it was a “sad state of affairs” for white Australians to finally make the decision affecting First Nations people.
Ms Thorpe said indigenous peoples’ voices risked being drowned out by Australia’s corporate-funded ‘loud’ Yes campaign.
“It’s going to be a lot louder than those black grassroots guys on the ground who have very serious problems with the proposal,” he said.
‘And that’s a shame because at the end of the day, we’re only three per cent (of the population).
“So it is progressives in this country who will ultimately make the decision for us, and that is a sad situation that white progressives think they know best for us.
“They think this is a good thing for us, but they haven’t gone deep enough and allowed those black grassroots activists to have a voice.”
She said the most pressing issue was to immediately implement the findings of the royal commissions.
“If Labor is fair and Burney is a legend, then implement those recommendations and save people’s lives today,” he said.
Senator Thorpe declined to speculate on how much closer she would be to her goals if the referendum fails.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said. ‘I will not give anything to anyone until I see justice in this country for our people.
‘What progressives don’t understand is that we still attend funerals every day, while everyone tells us how great the Voice will be for us.
‘It’s not too late, it’s not too late to question what this Voice really means to us. It has no power.
Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) repeatedly referred to Karvelas’s ‘legend’ tweet during a 13-minute interview on Radio Nacional.
Senator Thorpe’s comments come as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese prepares to launch his Yes campaign in Adelaide on Thursday night.
She said she had written to the Prime Minister about the meeting with the referendum task force, saying she wanted to bring her views to the table.
“I feel like the prime minister is speaking in forked tongues, basically,” he said.
“He’s telling the conservatives: ‘Look, okay, everybody. He has no power. We’ll have ultimate power. They’re just an advisory body.”
“Then he goes to black people and says, ‘This is going to save the world, this is going to save the culture.'”
Ms Thorpe’s comments come as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese prepares to launch his Yes campaign in Adelaide on Thursday night.
He has indicated that the referendum will take place between October and December of this year and, if successful, a body would be legislated at the end of this period of government.
The Greens support the voice, while the Nationals do not and the Liberal Party has yet to make a final decision.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Karvelas and Senator Thorpe for comment.