Caroline Di Russo: Lidia Thorpe’s ‘attention-seeking’ blame game

Senator Lidia Thorpe is the gift that keeps on giving.

She was the subject of a parliamentary investigation (which later cleared her of wrongdoing) after failing to disclose a relationship with a former bikie while sitting on the joint law enforcement committee.

Then she was escorted from Mardi Gras by police, while attempting to protest something or other, with the usually festive crowd chanting “throw her out”.

And at the recent women’s rights rally in Canberra, she was again removed by police for attempting to charge the event speaker.  

You’d think that would be the end of it. But it’s not.

Instead, over the weekend, Senator Thorpe was filmed getting into a confronting verbal altercation with a group of men at the front of Maxine’s Gentleman’s Club in Melbourne at the wrong end of a night out.

As part of this racially-charged expletive-ridden spray, Senator Thorpe told one of the men he was “marked” and taunted another about having a small penis.

Senator Thorpe claims she was provoked.

For a politician who does plenty of provoking herself, she should perhaps take note of how others restrain themselves.

That said, Senator Thorpe appears to be allergic to the very notion of personal responsibility and has mastered the art of blame shifting – decrying anyone who opposes her precise view of the world as racist.

In fact, the racism card is so overplayed it is slumped in the corner from exhaustion.  

Sections of the media have been remarkably silent about Senator Thorpe’s antics, and in some cases have tried to justify her poor behaviour.

She has been given leeway which no parliamentarian of a major party – Coalition or Labor – could ever hope to be given.

Had the media been consistent in the standard it apparently expects from parliamentarians, Senator Thorpe would’ve been hounded from her position long ago.

Section 44 of the Constitution details the very few instances where a parliamentarian can be disqualified from parliament and there is no suggestion that Senator Thorpe has offended any of those provisions.

What is offensive is Senator Thorpe’s lack of appreciation for the privilege of being a senator, the disregard she has for our institutions and her parliamentary colleagues, the contempt she has for the Australian people and her blatant refusal to act in any manner that is fit and becoming of a federal parliamentarian.

In addition to the media’s vocal criticism, the clipboard enthusiasts on the crossbench – otherwise known as the Teals – who usually take great delight in passing judgement on the behaviour of the lesser mortals in parliament, have also been conspicuously silent on the behaviour of Senator Thorpe.

Thorpe ‘highly unlikely’ to be suspended from parliament following strip club incident

As is often the case in politics, it is convenient to ignore the poor behaviour of people with whom you sympathise politically.

Perhaps they can take props from crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie, who yesterday slammed Senator Thorpe’s behaviour and said she must take responsibility for her actions.

Ah yes, responsibility.

What a novel concept.

Ultimately our parliamentarians are charged with serving the Australian people.

And the Australian people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, are poorly served by this gauche display of attention-seeking performative activism.

This situation is so unsatisfactory one almost feels a pang of sympathy for Julian Burnside.

Imagine giving up your membership to the Savage Club and being denied Greens preselection because you were passed over in favour of the hopelessly deficient Lidia Thorpe.

And for that gift to Australians, Adam Bandt should be held accountable.

Caroline Di Russo is a contributor and the Liberal Party President in Western Australia.

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