Ms Thorpe — who was also the first indigenous woman to sit in the Victorian Parliament — will be sworn into Federal Parliament in coming months to fill the vacancy.
The firebrand campaigner for Indigenous issues will take on the role as thousands of people in Australia have defied coronavirus restrictions to rally against Aboriginal deaths in custody in support of the broader Black Lives Matter movement.
Ms Thorpe said she would pursue a treaty with Indigenous Australians in Federal Parliament and would fight to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Australia, which currently sits at 10 years-of-age.
She would also push for a “Green New Deal,” referring to a proposed package of legislation in the United States which aims to slow climate change and economic inequality.
“We need a Treaty that needs to be internationally scrutinised under the Geneva Convention of treaties so not just a bureaucratic treaty, a real treaty that will end the injustice that Aboriginal people in this country face.
“The Green New Deal is what everyone needs to know about, it can be part of the treaty process, it’s about addressing the inequality that his country has with so many people and so many communities … and we need to address the climate catastrophe that we’re all facing.”
Ms Thorpe said it was time for the county to “unite” and she did not want her contribution to be reduced to a “black or white thing”.
“I come from the hard knox, I come from the Collingwood flats, I left school at 14 I survived family violence and here I am.
“So this is a message to all those battlers out there and all those women who experienced and still experience family violence, that we have a voice and I want to be that voice in Canberra who holds people to account but at the same time, brings this nation together.
“We’ve been through an incredibly tough six months in this country, we’ve seen catastrophic bushfires, a pandemic and a black man murdered in America which has made us look at ourselves in this country as nation and realise we have the same problems here.”
Party leader Adam Bandt said he was “thrilled’ to be able to work with Ms Thorpe.
“Parliament is due for a shake up, and Lidia’s fearless advocacy for economic and social justice will strengthen the case for a Green New Deal and provide a voice for so many people that have been let down by politics,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
“From being the first Aboriginal woman elected to Victorian parliament, to winning renters rights, forestry protections and LGBTIQ support, Lidia has an incredible track record of fighting for change.”
Ms Thorpe won the Victorian seat of Northcote with an 11 per cent swing in the 2017 byelection, but Labor won the seat back in the 2018 state election.
She has been deeply involved in the state’s treaty discussions, but withdrew her candidacy in the First Assembly elections over concerns the treaty was not coming from the grassroots and in protest against a program of mass sell-off of government land.
She was also an advocate for saving sacred Djab Wurrung trees from being cut down in western Victoria under a controversial highway duplication project.
The senate vacancy arose after Richard Di Natale stepped down as federal leader of the Greens in February this year citing family reasons, after almost five years leading the party.
While Burnside’s entry into federal parliament has been delayed, party members hope he will defeat Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong at the next federal election.
Other candidates included barrister and former City of Melbourne councillor David Risstrom, experienced campaigner Dinesh Mathew and Darebin deputy mayor Susanne Newton.
Timna Jacks is Transport Reporter at The Age