A young Lidia Thorpe with her father, Roy, who she has a complicated relationship with
The day before Greens defector Lidia Thorpe sensationally laid down in front of a float during Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, she phoned her Trump-supporting father to let him know she had a dream about him.
One month after that seemingly pleasant conversation, Roy Illingworth went on conservative Sky News presenter Andrew Bolt’s show on Thursday and launched a full-frontal attack on his daughter.
At the same time, in scenes reminiscent of the behaviour of Thomas Markle – who publicly slammed his daughter Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex – he also spoke somewhat fondly of Thorpe, his once ‘really spoilt’ little girl, who now continually makes headlines for her outrageous antics and extreme views.
Mr Illingworth’s unexpected airing of his family’s dirty laundry came after Thorpe was filmed unleashing on a group of men outside Maxine’s Gentleman’s Club in Melbourne at 3am on Sunday. She told them they small penises and accused them of stealing her land. Thorpe later claimed she was provoked.
In March, she attracted heavy criticism after she lay on the road in front of a Twenty10 truck, which brought the Mardi Gras parade to a temporary halt, and she caused chaos when she charged a transgender critic outside Parliament House recently.
During his TV interview, Mr Illingworth – who often shares social media posts by conservative commentators and politicians – made it clear that he did not agree with Thorpe’s actions, adding that he had been inundated with calls from friends because they ‘feel bad for me’.
But in the same breath, the father seemed to gush about his daughter’s unending perseverance and commitment to her ‘Blak Sovereign’ movement – describing her as a ‘strong woman’ who doesn’t take nonsense and ‘sees it as it is’.
Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) was filmed unleashing an extraordinary spray of insults at a group of men outside Maxine’s Gentlemen’s Club at 3am on Sunday
Lidia Thorpe on her first lie-down in Oxford Street, apparently mistaking a float for gay and lesbian youth charity for the federal or state police truck
Mr Illingworth said their relationship was strained because she had been ‘cruel’ to him in the past.
He then accused her of being ‘racist towards white people’ – in a quote that grabbed headlines.
The basis for his claim was that he was ‘disappointed’ by ‘the way she has been carrying on lately’ and an insistence she hasn’t acknowledged her English heritage, or her half-siblings who are not Indigenous.
Mr Illingworth is of English and Irish heritage. Thorpe’s mother is Aboriginal.
He said Thorpe ‘never used to be like that’ when she was younger and suggested the power she has as a senator may have ‘gone to her head’.
Speaking about her as a child, Mr Illingworth said: ‘She was really spoilt … she got everything she wanted and she knows that too.
Victoria NAIDOC chair Stacie Piper (pictured second left) was with former Greens senator Lidia Thorpe (centre) to celebrate friend Shelley Johnson’s 50th birthday at Maxine’s Gentleman’s Club in Brunswick
‘She’s even more privileged now with the position she is in.’
He also said ‘she’s still my daughter and I still love her’.
Thorpe’s fans were quick to compare the broadcast to an interview Meghan Markle’s father Thomas did with Good Morning Britain in 2021.
Then, he famously slammed his daughter, the Duchess of Sussex, and claimed she ‘ghosted all her family’ since she met Prince Harry in 2016.
One Twitter user said: ‘Sky News are giving Lidia Thorpe the ‘Meghan Markle’ treatment.’
Another wrote: ‘It’s giving me Thomas Markle.’
A third added: ‘[Thorpe] speaks about her mum and grandma as being strong women. Maybe feature them. The Thomas Markle-Roy Thorpes can be splinter stories to their trees.’
Thorpe and the Duchess of Sussex are both high-profile women from diverse backgrounds – Markle’s mother is African-American and Thorpe’s mother is an Aboriginal. They both have white fathers who gave TV interviews, attacking their daughters.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting anything else by this comparison.
Thomas Markle (pictured) slammed his daughter Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in a television interview
Thorpe’s fans were quick to compare the broadcast to an interview Meghan Markle’s father Thomas did with Good Morning Britain in 2021
A friend of Thorpe’s who also made the Markle comparison slammed Mr Illingworth on Twitter, describing the interview as ‘low’ and ‘grubby’.
He pointed to the fact that Mr Illingworth’s social media profile picture is a photo of Donald Trump, and that he follows conservative politicians Pauline Hanson and Jacinta Price.
The father is a prolific Facebook user who shares multiple posts per day, often in the form of memes commentary against climate change, sexual jokes, or posts by right-wing politicians.
His political views appear to be in direct opposition to the views of Thorpe, who was a Greens senator until she quit in February over the party’s support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which she opposes.
Thorpe previously said she would only support the Voice if it guaranteed Indigenous sovereignty.
During an Invasion Day rally in Melbourne this year, Thorpe declared war against European colonialism in a fiery speech: ‘This is a war. They are still killing us. They are still killing our babies. What do we have to celebrate in our country?’
Following Thorpe’s rampage outside the Melbourne strip club last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese suggested she ‘get some help’. The senator slammed his comments as ‘racist’.
Lidia Thorpe (pictured) attempted to storm the podium during British trans critic Posie Parker’s speech for the Let Women Speak rally outside parliament house in March
She insisted racial harassment had triggered her outburst and stressed that no was injured during the confrontation.
‘The story should be about the racists brazenly harassing a senator. The story is that I can’t go out without being harassed by racists.
‘Saying I need “mental help” is a continuation of the old racist and misogynistic narrative used to discredit and silence outspoken and strong women, particularly Blak women,’ she said.
‘I am disappointed by the opportunism of politicians in Canberra – including the PM – using this to drag me down.’
Mr Illingworth agreed that his daughter was not mentally ill. ‘There’s nothing wrong with her,’ he said.
He put it best while speaking about their conversation on the phone after Thorpe’s Mardi Gras stunt.
‘She rang me up to say I was in her dream or something like that and we’re talking for a little while, and the next day she’s laying in front of a float,’ he said, smiling.
‘You never know what she’s going to get up to.’
LIDIA THORPE LOSES THREE KEY STAFFERS WITHIN WEEKS
By Kevin Airs
Rogue senator Lidia Thorpe has seen an exodus of key staff in recent months, losing her chief of staff last year and two media advisors within the past few weeks.
Her former chief of staff David Mejia-Canales quit in June after he said he was horrified by the senator’s ‘appalling conduct’ during a meeting with Aboriginal elders.
He branded her behaviour ‘one of the most unprofessional displays’ he had ever seen in his life which had left him ‘scared and in shock’.
Since then, media advisor Amanda Barbour followed him out the door in February 2023 after working with senator Thorpe for three years.
Former ABC and SBS journalist Jennetta Quinn-Bates has now also left her role as the senator’s media advisor just days after she called her ‘the best boss EVER’ on March 23.
On April 13, Ms Quinn-Bates posted an update on Twitter that she ‘did not speak for Lidia’ and the senator’s office confirmed to Daily Mail Australia: ‘Jennetta has finished up with our office’.