Pauline Hanson has rubbished suggestions that she and Lidia Thorpe have eased their frosty relations after the Greens-turned-Independent senator appeared to support her.
The duo were pictured side-by-side for the first time on Wednesday, weeks after the One Nation leader’s team complained about the ‘inappropriate’ Senate seating arrangement.
But they appeared in high spirits for at least a portion of Question Time, particularly when Senator Hanson addressed issues surrounding First Nations’ sovereignty.
She asked: ‘Does the Albanese government support the establishment of a sovereign, independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation in Australia, yes or no?’
After Penny Wong, representing the Prime Minister, skirted around the answer and suggested Senator Hanson may have a misplaced motivation for asking such a question, Senator Thorpe threw her head back in fits of laughter.
And while some onlookers may have interpreted Senator Thorpe’s reaction to the question as an olive branch, a spokesman for Senator Hanson told Daily Mail Australia she has no intention of smoothing things over.
Pauline Hanson has rubbished suggestions her and Lidia Thorpe have eased their frosty relations after the Independent appeared to support her in the Senate today
After Penny Wong, representing the Prime Minister, skirted around the answer and suggested Senator Hanson may have a misplaced motivation for asking such a question, Senator Thorpe threw her head back in fits of laughter
Daily Mail Australia understands Senator Thorpe thought the line of questioning was brilliant, and thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth, and told Senator Hanson as much.
Senator Wong said: ‘The issue of sovereignty is something that First Nations people, including in this place, have asserted very clearly. You would have heard Senator Stewart and others talk about the First Nations not having ceded their sovereignty.
‘But if the question goes to two nations, we are the nation of Australia.’
Senator Thorpe later told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Sovereignty is what we need to be talking about in this country, that’s why we need a treaty, sovereign to sovereign.’
And while the two senators on opposite sides of the political spectrum have different opinions on the issue of First Nations sovereignty, both want the government to address it.
Pictures from the Senate show Senator Thorpe beaming up at Senator Hanson during the exchange.
But just after the seemingly warm moment Senator Hanson stood up and moved a row back.
A spokesperson for Senator Hanson told Daily Mail Australia she made a point not to accept praise she received from Senator Thorpe immediately after her showdown with Penny Wong.
‘Senator Hanson has made it very clear that it was inappropriate to sit Senator Thorpe next to her.
‘[Today] Senator Hanson did not even acknowledge her. She has no time for her.’
But after the seemingly warm moment, Senator Hanson stood up and moved a row back to sit elsewhere
Senators Hanson (right) and Thorpe (left) during a previous Senate exchange in March 2021
The spokesman confirmed tensions were still simmering – at least as far as the One Nation leader is concerned – and hosed down any suggestions of an unlikely alliance between the pair.
Later, as Senator Thorpe posed her own question to Senator Murray Watt, representing the Attorney General, Senator Hanson quietly left the chambers altogether.
She asked whether the government was ‘going to ensure the full implementation of all 339 recommendations’ issued more than 30 years ago in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
When Senator Watt began discussing his friendship with Senator Dodson, who recently called out the government over inaction, Senator Thorpe interjected.
‘We all have an Aboriginal friend,’ she said. ‘When are you going to start saving lives? Black lives matter.’
Daily Mail Australia understands Senator Thorpe thought the line of questioning was brilliant, and thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth, and told Senator Hanson as much
Senator Thorpe suggested making Medicare available in prisons throughout the nation, allowing First Nations people in custody to ‘access Aboriginal health checks and culturally safe health care’.
She said: ‘Years ago Labor made a policy commitment to Medicare in prisons. When are you going to make this a reality?’
In response, Senator Watt said the government was doing all that it can to ‘rebuild Medicare after years of destruction’, noting the system is currently ‘broken’ and a primary focus moving forward.
‘These are important issues to make sure that all prisoners—and in particular First Nations prisoners, given the unacceptably high rates of both incarceration and deaths in custody—get the health treatment that they deserve.’