Lydia Thorpe appears to have used a racial slur to respond to an Aboriginal leader as the war of words over the Aboriginal voice escalates.
The polarizing Greens senator objected to Noel Pearson, accusing her of being on a “marginal unity card” with Jacinta Price in opposition to The Voice.
Senator Thorpe tweeted Monday afternoon calling Pearson an “uncle” along with a photo of him with media baron Rupert Murdoch and former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott.
The reference appears to be a deliberate reference to “Uncle Tom”, a racial slur used against black people.
The insult accuses a black person of being humiliatingly submissive to white people, often betraying their race as a result.
Lydia Thorpe used a racial slur to respond to Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson, calling him “Uncle” in an apparent reference to “Uncle Tom”. The insult was captioned with a picture of him laughing with Rupert Murdoch and Tony Abbott in 2014
Senator Thorpe objected to Noelle Pearson, accusing her of being on a “marginal unity card” with Jacinta Price in opposition to The Voice.
Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine last year told Daily Mail Australia he was often called “Uncle Tom” for his opposition to The Voice.
Mr Pearson was discussing plans for some “invasion day” protests to oppose Aboriginal voices as they paraded through Australian cities.
“What I will say about the far left is that there is a point on the face of the clock where the far left meets the far right, and suddenly, the edge of the left and the edge of the right find common ground,” he told ABC Radio.
They’re on the unit card. They say the same. This is where Lydia and Jacinta Price get their hands on it.
Senator Price, of the Country Liberal Party, and Senator Thorpe agree on very little politically but are united in their opposition to the vote.
The controversial Green Party responded to Pearson by publishing a photo of him laughing with New Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott at Australia’s 50th anniversary party in 2014.
“Noel made me hold hands with Jacinta Price lol. Who’s holding your hand, Uncle?” she wrote.
Indigenous Australians sometimes respectfully refer to the older member of their community as “uncle” or “aunty”, but Senator Thorpe never does that to Mr Pearson and it seems unlikely besides the photo.
Neither man responded to requests for comment.
Another photo, also from 2014, literally shows Mr Pearson holding Abbott’s hand
Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine last year told Daily Mail Australia he was often called “Uncle Tom” for his opposition to The Voice. This is one example
However, another clash between prominent Aboriginal figures highlighted the growing ugly divisions in the Aboriginal community in Australia on this issue.
Mr. Pearson lashed out at Senator Price in November, again on ABC radio, after she and the National Party declared their official opposition to the vote.
On Monday, he cast a wider net, accusing opponents of the vote of trying to derail the referendum by complaining that there were not enough details on how the proposed advisory body would work.
This request for detail is a diversion. The details relate to legislation, not the constitution. And the referendum on the constitution. Legislation for Parliament.
He was responding to the coalition’s threat to withdraw support for the vote unless Prime Minister Anthony Albanese provided more details on what it would look like.
Mr Pearson lashed out at Senator Price (pictured together) in November after she and the National Party declared their official opposition to the vote
Opposition Indigenous Affairs spokesman Julian Lesser, who supports the vote in principle, said the government needed to listen to people who had questions and concerns about the vote and the lack of detail available.
“The government is in danger of losing me, because I don’t think they’re listening, and I’m really trying to get them to listen to the reasonable concerns that people raise,” he told ABC Radio.
I’ve spent the summer talking to sensible Australians, people I would have expected would be people most likely to support (The Voice).
They say things to me like, look, I want to vote yes, but I’m not sure I can because no one can explain to me how this is going to work.
“I think the government is ignoring the reasonable concerns of reasonable Australians.”
Pearson warned that 2023 was the most important year for Australians and Indigenous peoples in 235 years and that there would be dire consequences if the vote failed.
“I think Julian Lesser (and Leader of the Opposition) Peter Dutton… might just be choosing to play a spoiled game. I hope they’re not.
This poll is the most important question relating to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians since the First Fleet.
“We have to understand what is at stake, this is the opportunity for reconciliation and if the referendum is played out and the game is spoiled by the opposition, we will lose the opportunity forever.”
On Monday, Noel Pearson accused opponents of Voice of trying to derail the referendum by complaining that there were not enough details on how the proposed advisory body would work.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the draft question at last year’s Jarma festival
The alternative, Pearson said, is that Indigenous Australians will have no recourse but to protest for the foreseeable future.
The question that will arise is, do we recognize the indigenous people in the constitution? And if we say no to that, I can’t say what it is, what the future will be like anything other than protest.
“The presence of Indigenous peoples in this country will forever be associated with protest rather than with an appropriate response by the Australian people to this call for recognition and reconciliation.”
Senator Thorpe’s tweet was the latest in a series of preemptive statements on social media in the past few days.
It appears she took some credit on Sunday for Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews quietly canceling the Australia Day parade in Melbourne.
The event was previously suspended in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then again in 2022 as the Omicron outbreak continues.
Senator Thorpe hailed the move as a sign of “progress” and the result of a grueling campaign by protesters calling for the tradition to be scrapped.
“Black grassroots activists in solidarity with Aboriginal resistance warriors succeeded in canceling the Aus Day Parade,” she wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
“This is progress and this is the power of tirelessly mobilizing the masses year after year.”
James Masola, national affairs editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, responded by mocking her for taking credit for Mr Andrews’ decision.
Victorian Labor government cancels parade. Green federal Senator Thorpe (in a way) takes credit for this. lol wrote.
Senator Thorpe shot back: ‘I hear your Uncle Aldo wrote books and made money in the holy country of the women of Gunay. Pay the rent!