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Lidia Thorpe says talking about rape and murder in Indigenous communities is a “diversion” from the real issue

A former Greens MP and Victorian Indigenous leader says problems within remote Aboriginal communities are linked to the colonisation of Australia.

Neil Mitchell and Lidia Thorpe have clashed over the comments, which come after the debate with Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Yumi Stynes on TV earlier this week.

Ms Thorpe agreed that there are disproportionate problems within Aboriginal communities but disagreed about why the problems exist.

“That’s not as a result of what we’re doing as Aboriginal people, it’s what the system is doing to our people,” Ms Thorpe said.

“Are you saying that domestic violence, sexual assault and the abuse of children is somehow linked to colonialism?” Neil asked.

LT: “Someone comes into your home, they tell you you have to leave, they tell you you’re not allowed to speak the language that you know, they take your children away and they lock the rest of your family up.”

NM: “Well that would be devastating, but I’m not going to turn around and assault the children!”

LT: “That would make your family dysfunctional, would it not? A treaty is the only way we can come together. Talking about rape and murder in our communities is a diversion from what the real issue really is.”

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Alice Springs Councillor Jacinta Price said what Kennerley it was “a bit clumsy”, but she was making a reasonable point.

“It wasn’t racist, at all,” Ms Price said.

“The evidence is stark and anyone who denies that is effectively silencing those victims who need to be heard.”

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“Certainly to be accused of being racist I think is over the top,” Neil said.

“If you can’t make a point without being accused as racist there’s something wrong.”