Aboriginal activist Lidia Thorpe to replace Richard Di Natale as Greens senator for Victoria :

Thorpe’s appointment brings the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander politicians in federal parliament to five

Lidia Thorpe will be the new Greens senator for Victoria, replacing the outgoing senator and former Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

Thorpe, an Aboriginal leader, activist and Gunnai-Kurnai/Gunditjmara woman and former member for Northcote in the Victorian parliament, was elected to fill the casual vacancy after statewide ballot of Victorian Greens members.

Victoria Greens co-convenors Effy Elden and Ella Webb said 65% of more than 3,600 members eligible to take part in the ballot had voted over two weeks and Thorpe secured a decisive victory.

On Saturday, Thorpe said she hoped to build on her record in state politics of fighting for social justice and the environment.

“It’s an incredible honour and a huge responsibility to be chosen by Greens members as the next senator for Victoria,” she said. “I won’t let you down.

“I’m ready to fight for the issues we all believe in – climate, injustice, inequality.”

Thorpe was previously the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian parliament.

“It’s so important for kids growing up today in places I grew up to know they can do what I’ve done,” she said on Saturday. “Kids in the commission flats, or out in country towns, or single mums, or survivors of domestic violence. This isn’t out of your reach.”

Di Natale resigned as the Greens leader in February, announcing he would leave politics midyear to spend more time with his family. The Melbourne MP Adam Bandt replaced him as leader.

Thorpe’s appointment brings the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander politicians in the federal parliament to five. The other four are the federal Indigenous affairs minister, Ken Wyatt, for the Coalition, his Labor counterpart, Linda Burney, and Labor senators Pat Dodson and Malarndirri McCarthy.

Bandt said on Saturday that parliament was due for a shake up and Thorpe would be a voice for people who felt they had been let down by politics.

“From being the first Aboriginal woman elected to Victorian parliament, to winning renters rights, forestry protections and LGBTIQ support, Lidia has an incredible track record of fighting for change,” he said.

“With an escalating inequality and climate crisis, there has never been a more important time to make sure the Greens reach new communities to speak with everyone in this country and leave no one behind.

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