Nat Barr has confronted Lidia Thorpe as her uncle sets up an indefinite camp in a public park and is refusing to leave until the government gives it back to Aboriginal people.
Robbie Thorpe established ‘Camp Sovereignty’ at Kings Domain in Melbourne on Tuesday and says the park is unceded sovereign land.
Mr Thorpe is joined by others who say they’ll stay there ‘forever’, or at least until the large park, 1km south of the city’s CBD, is returned to the people of the Kulin nation.
The Kings Domain Resting Place is the burial ground for 38 Aboriginal people, and Mr Thorpe held a similar demonstration there for 60 days in 2006.
This follows the recent return of parkland in Melbourne’s north to traditional owners and a $100 million claim made for Sydney’s Balmoral Beach.
Sunrise host Nat Barr has confronted Lidia Thorpe about her uncle’s land claim in Melbourne
Senator Thorpe has thrown her support behind her uncle’s land claim and was confronted by Sunrise host Natalie Barr on Thursday morning.
‘It is an incredibly complex issue that people are struggling to understand,’ Barr said.
‘Out there today, people watching who will say, “I can’t be held responsible for what happened in the past” Can you understand that? What do you say to them?’
Senator Thorpe hit back with some damning statistics about the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people and her demands for Aussie.
‘We were 100 per cent of the population in the country before the colonisation and the boats came,’ she said.
‘We are the most incarcerated; 23,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have been taken away from their families, and its list goes on.
‘We are the most incarcerated women in the world – Aboriginal women, being only 3 per cent. That is a lot of women.
‘So we want peace. We want unity. We’d like to have a treaty, which is about a peace agreement.’
Senator Thorpe urged Aussies not to listen to politicians who ‘created this fear’.
‘Listen to the ones that want to unite the country and get on with it. So that we can be proud of where we live and who we are as a nation,’ she said.
Greens MP Tim Read (left) is pictured with Mr Thorpe (centre) on Wednesday
Senator Thorpe also addressed the divisive state of the nation post-referendum and said Camp Sovereignty was a peaceful gathering open to all Australians.
‘The sit-in at Kings Domain, or Camp Sovereignty, is a peaceful gathering. Everyone is welcome to come down, engage in truth-telling, share stories around the fire, and contribute to healing our country from the grassroots up,’ she said.
‘This is an opportunity for everyday Australians to join the conversation about treaty and peace, shifting away from the division observed every 26th of January,’ she explained.
Barr’s cohost, Matt ‘Shirvo’ Shirvington, then confronted Thorpe on whether the park sit-in was the best way to address the issue.
‘Robbie has done this before,’ Shirvo explained. ‘In 2006 he did it for 60 days. Essentially, he is making it his life’s work, isn’t he? He is not going to leave until he gets some sort of resolution. Is he forced to do this? Is this the best way to do this?’
Thorpe said Aboriginal people ‘can’t rely on politicians’.
‘They got it wrong in the referendum. They were told not to have it,’ she continued.
‘So I think it is up to the people now to start having these conversations at the local level so that we can show these politicians how we can have a united nation right here that we can come together, we can live together.
‘It is not about taking people’s backyards. It’s not about taking anything away from everyday Australians. It’s about making your lives better by understanding the country that you live on.
‘Understanding the true stories. I mean, what they now call Kings Domain has been a gathering place for thousands of generations. We want to bring it back to it being a gathering place for everybody.’