An emotional Lidia Thorpe has opened up about her complex feelings towards her white father who called her a ‘very racist person’ during a public row earlier this year.
The controversial senator said she hasn’t spoken to her father, Roy Illingsworth, since he made the comment in an interview with Sky News in April, but she said: “I love my dad. I love him with all my heart.’
Ms Thorpe also told ABC’s Annabel Crabb on Kitchen Cabinets that she felt “a bit sad for him” when he gave the interview.
“He was a good father in my early years. He probably wasn’t a good husband, but he was a good father to me,” she said.
The now-independent former Greens politician also revealed the despicable insult in the schoolyard that led to her ‘punching’ a fellow high school student.
One day, a boy called her a “native butt cleaner”, which she says was a common insult at the time, often abbreviated as “ABC”.
Emotional Lidia Thorpe (left) has opened up about her complex feelings for her father Roy Illingsworth (right) after he called her a ‘very racist person’ last April
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“So I punched this guy…for calling me ABC,” she said. “And he also punched me.
“So we went home with black eyes that day. »
Ms Thorpe and her cousin were the only Indigenous children at her school in Melbourne, where she says “there is a lot of racism from other kids and teachers”.
“We were compelled to participate in the bicentenary celebration (in 1988, marking the 200th anniversary of white settlement in Australia).
“Which was against our religion if you will, the invasion of this country. But I was very proud to be black and I was never shy about questioning people’s teachings about this country.
“And that usually ended in conflict, especially with teachers,” she said.
The feisty senator admitted that she gets along better with politicians on the right than those on the left.
“It’s really weird,” she said, saying she thinks it’s because she knows where those on the right stand in politics.
“It’s like on a netball court, (I have) white line fever once I’m in this Senate, I’m there on business… And I have my agenda, which is black justice in this country. »
“And then off the field, I will be your friend. »
She not only gets along with right-wingers like One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, whom she calls a “true gentleman”, but her father encouraged her to join Pauline Hanson’s party.
“(My dad) moved to Queensland and the further north he went the more he started to change and he became a One Nation supporter.
“And when I became a Greens politician, he said to me: well, why go there? He said: I should join One Nation.
“I just said, OK, dad, maybe we shouldn’t talk about politics.”
Lidia Thorpe (pictured) said One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts was ‘a real gentleman’
Lidia Thorpe (left) appeared on ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet with Annabelle Crabb (right)
Ms Thorpe (pictured) said her father encouraged her to join One Nation and she was also asked to run for the Liberal Party in Victoria
Ms Thorpe also revealed she enjoyed having a ‘good conversation’ with former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett and that he tried to convince her to run for the Liberal Party.
She politely declined, telling him, “You know what my family would do to me if I ran for you, you have no hope.
” Thank you for thinking of me. I really appreciate that.’
Although she’s known to never back down from a fight, Ms Thorpe said she regrets shouting “at least I kept my legs closed” at Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes in December 2021.
Ms Hughes said it was a ‘despicable’ reference to her autistic son, Fred.
In an interview with Sky News at the time, an emotional Ms Hughes said the comment implied that if she kept her legs closed she wouldn’t have an autistic child.
She said she found the comments “more than disgusting, more than despicable.”
But nearly two years after the comments shocked the nation, Ms Thorpe claimed it was all a misunderstanding.
“That was the wrong thing to say. And I admit that and I accept that,” she said.
“Earlier today the senator was sitting so I could see her panties and I said to my colleague next to me, should we come upstairs and tell Holly we can see her panties? »
Ms Thorpe (pictured) said she regretted shouting ‘at least I kept my legs closed’ at Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes in December 2021
Senator Hughes (pictured) said she found the comments ‘beyond disgusting, beyond vile’
When she then yelled at Ms Hughes to keep her legs closed, it was a reference to her underwear and not her son, Ms Thorpe claimed.
“And I was just beside myself and she was horrified, which is understandable. »
She said she later apologized to Ms Hughes but the fact that she made the comment in the first place made her feel ‘bad’.
“I felt so bad because of what was coming out of my mouth.”