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Adam Bandt’s Lidia Thorpe problem is not going away

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Adam Bandt may have secured Lidia Thorpe’s resignation as deputy senate leader, but the Greens’ problems are far from over.

May 21 was the high watermark for the federal Greens, who returned to Canberra with a record 16 MPs but now Bandt is finding out just how hard it can be to run a larger party room comprised of high-profile individuals with healthy egos.

Internally, some Greens party members are questioning how it was possible for Bandt’s chief of staff to know about Thorpe’s relationship with Rebels’ member Dean Martin and not tell the party leader.

Adam Bandt, Lidia Thorpe, Dean MartinCredit:Australian Financial Review

There are also rumblings about Bandt’s leadership style, with party insiders saying Bandt has consistently avoided carpeting Thorpe over the problems she has created for the party, starting with the party leader’s low-key response to Thorpe’s crude jibe- “at least I keep my legs shut” – directed at Liberal senator Hollie Hughes.

Some in the party room are now openly talk about her quitting to move to the crossbench, a nightmare scenario that is not as outlandish as it might sound.

Thorpe is a political bomb thrower. It’s how she has made her way in politics and she shows no interest in quietly towing the party line. Her agenda quite clearly does not always align with that of the party, and Bandt has tied himself in knots trying to explain away the gaps.

Her freelancing on the Voice to Parliament is a case in point. The Greens were quick to support the proposal back in 2017 but since Thorpe’s entry into the federal arena in September 2020, she has shifted the party’s position to give at least equal weight, if not priority, to truth telling and a treaty before constitutional recognition and a Voice to parliament.


In itself, that’s fine – parties change positions all the time. But Thorpe’s emphasis is very much on treaty and, after initially saying she would work with Labor on Voice, she told this masthead it was a “waste of time”, causing a major headache for Bandt.


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