An Australian senator pledged allegiance to the “colonialist queen” during a swearing-in ceremony before her colleagues forced her to take the oath again.
Green Party senator Lidia Thorpe, who is an Indigenous member of Australia’s upper house, raised a clenched fist as she recited the oath incorrectly.
She read from a printed card and said: “I Sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful, and I bear true allegiance to the Colonization of Her Majesty the Queen.”
The stunt caused consternation among some of her House colleagues and Senate President Sue Lines demanded that she recite the oath as printed.
A senator told her, “You can’t be a senator if you don’t do it right.”
Mrs Thorpe then took the oath again and read it correctly.
She later tweeted a photograph of the raised fist in the air, writing: “Sovereignty never relinquished.”
Under Australia’s constitution, all parliamentarians must swear allegiance to the monarch.
Green Party leader Adam Bandt doubled down on his colleague’s comments, saying the Queen “always has been, always will be,” a coloniser.
Last week, an Assistant Minister for the Republic from the incumbent Labor Party said pledging allegiance to the Queen was “archaic and ridiculous”.
Matt Thistlethwaite said in an interview with Nine Newspapers, “It doesn’t represent the Australia we live in and it’s further evidence why we need to start discussing becoming a republic with our own head of state.
“We are no longer British,” he added.
The swearing-in was not the first time Thorpe has sparked controversy, having previously said the Australian flag represented “dispossession, massacre and genocide”.
Monday’s Senate outburst comes at a time of growing support for Australia’s indigenous people to have a voice in parliament.
This weekend, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that he plans to hold a referendum on recognizing First Nations people in the constitution and requiring consultation with them on issues and decisions that affect their lives.
Such a move would bring Australia in line with New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Holding a referendum on Indigenous rights would effectively delay the move to hold a referendum on Australia becoming a republic.
Albanese’s creation of the post of “Minister of the Republic” led some commentators to believe that the likelihood of a referendum on whether to replace the Queen as head of state was increased,
Before he was elected, the Australian prime minister said it was “inevitable” that the Queen would be replaced as Australia’s head of state.
However, the government has made it clear that it is no longer obliged to vote on the issue over the next three years.
A referendum on the republic is not expected until after a public vote on giving Aboriginal Australians an institutional role in policy-making.
Recent polls suggested that Republicans would have a narrow 54 percent majority in the event of a referendum, but that people are divided on the best way to choose a head of state.
Many Australians are divided over how to choose a suitable person to replace the Queen and are wary of politicians getting involved in the selection process.
The Australian Republican Movement has proposed giving voters the final choice from a shortlist of candidates put forward by federal, state and territory legislatures.
The federal parliament would propose three nominees while individual states and territories would nominate one each.