Lidia Thorpe stormed out of a Senate estimates hearing after a fiery clash with Labor Indigineous senator Malarndirri McCarthy, where she was labelled “a disgrace to her people”.
The shouting match broke out during a heated discussion over commonwealth funding for Northern Territory safety initiatives being given to police on Wednesday night.
The Greens-turned-independent Indigenous senator and Senator McCarthy, a Yanyuwa woman from the Gulf country in the NT went back and forth with furious remarks before Ms Thorpe stormed out, calling the session a “disgrace”.
The Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee was holding budget estimates hearings involving the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).
Senator Thorpe asked a question about money from the NIAA, intended for Indigenous Australia, going to NT police.
“Is black money being used for NT police?” Senator Thorpe said
Public servants confirmed $14.2m from the NIAA was being given to NT police for community safety.
“I am so violated from that answer, I am so disgusted when the Northern Territory police get $14m when our youth services are struggling,” Senator Thorpe said.
She then turned on Senator McCarthy, the Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians.
“How can you let this happen, Senator McCarthy.”
Senator Thorpe called out “disgusting” and “shame on you” and took aim at police, including Indigenous officers, as Senator McCarthy tried to explain.
“You’re the one who brings disgrace to the Senate, to your people ... How dare you,” Senator McCarthy shot back, during the loud and heated exchange.
Senator Thorpe called on Senator McCarthy to withdraw the statement that she “was a disgrace to my people”, saying she “I was personally attacked by the Senator”.
“I’m sure there’s lots we’d like to clear from the last few minutes of Hansard,” she said.
Senator McCarthy asked that Senator Thorpe withdraw the “how dare you” remark .
Both senators withdrew their remarks, before Senator Thorpe picked up her papers and walked out before the end of the session, saying it was “an absolute disgrace.”