Lidia Thorpe was ejected from Parliament on Monday afternoon at the end of her speech against fracking in the NT.
The Greens were attempting to disallow $50 million in a federal grants program going towards fracking in the NT’s Beetaloo Basin, but the motion was quashed by both Labor and the Coalition.
The program provides funding for exploration activities to be undertaken in the Beetaloo sub‑basin to “support the development of the Northern Territory gas industry”.
Labor had already confirmed it would vote against the motion, as it did to a motion the Greens made in August 2021. The previous motion was to block a $21 million grant to Empire Energy’s Beetaloo fracking project as part of Australia’s so-called “gas-led recovery” from the pandemic. This grant has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny as well as a Senate Inquiry after it was revealed the gas company had cozied up to the Libs, chartering flights for them out to see the site.
But Traditional Owners have campaigned fiercely against the public-funding handouts to gas companies, saying that First Nations communities in the area still getting left behind and going without affordable housing and healthcare. The exploratory drilling could also have a damaging impact on the surrounding air quality and waterways, while also contributing significantly to Australia’s net emissions.
The Nationals’ Queensland senator and fossil fuel obsessive Matt Canavan said in Parliament that this program would create jobs for First Nations peoples in the region. Mmmhmm.
Thorpe used her speech in the Senate to accuse Labor and the Coalition of endangering First Nations lives and the climate.
She read out a statement from Traditional Owners who opposed fracking on their Country, and said those comments should be enough to stop it.
“That should be enough for [us] to do the right thing. Especially those who say Black Lives Matter like Labor, and ‘I love my dot paintings’ says the Libs. Like seriously, if you really, really care, you’ll listen to the Traditional Owners of the Northern Territory who don’t want their Country fracked,” she said.
“What’s the point of an opposition that doesn’t oppose?”
At the conclusion of her speech she chanted “Black lives don’t matter in the Beetaloo” as she took off her scarf and jacket to reveal a t-shirt with the same slogan.
Deputy President and Chair of Committees Sue Lines immediately told Thorpe to remove herself from the chamber for violating the dress code.
Parliament dress and conduct rules say members should choose to dress in a formal manner in keeping with business and professional standards, and that clothes printed with slogans are “not generally accepted”.
No doubt Thorpe knew this rule, so well played.
Blak lives don’t matter in the Beetaloo. Today we tried to stop public money being used to frack and destroy the Beetaloo, like Traditional Owners asked us to. The Government voted it down and most of the Labor party didn’t even turn up to vote. Shameful! pic.twitter.com/XWJms5NF1b
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) November 29, 2021