Lidia Thorpe says she was trying to speak about cousin’s death in custody during Senate chaos

The independent senator Lidia Thorpe says she was trying to deliver a statement from the mother of an Indigenous man who died in custody when she was barred from speaking for yelling over other senators, prompting the chamber to shut down early.

On Tuesday night the upper house erupted over which senators were granted the right to speak and how much time they were given to conclude their remarks.

Thorpe had been seeking the call and had furiously interjected a number of times while other senators delivered their speeches, prompting the acting deputy president, Louise Pratt, to demand she “sit down now”.

Related: Indigenous man called out ‘I’m dying’ with no response from prison staff in hours before death, Victorian inquest hears

Thorpe continued to interject as the Labor senator Helen Polley delivered a speech on dementia and concussion, accusing Pratt of being asleep in the chair.

“Wake up, because you’ve been asleep in that chair and I have a mother who lost a son to your system,” Thorpe said.

Pratt denied the accusation, saying she had been “listening intently” to the speeches.

Thorpe continued interjecting even after the Senate president, Sue Lines, returned to the chair, attempting to defuse the situation. Thorpe was eventually barred from raising points of order, as is usually a parliamentarian’s right.

Ultimately, the chamber’s proceedings were adjourned to prevent further escalation.

On Wednesday morning, Thorpe said she had been trying to deliver a statement from the mother of her first cousin, Josh Kerr. She added she would be talking to the government to prevent the issue around speaking times in the Senate from happening again.

Kerr, a 32-year-old Yorta Yorta and Gunnaikurnai man whose coronial inquest finished last week, died in custody in 2022.

A state coroner’s court has heard Kerr was “visibly unresponsive” for 17 minutes before receiving medical treatment, after having earlier called out “I’m dying” with no action from prison staff.

Lines labelled Thorpe’s conduct on Tuesday night as “appalling” in a statement before question time on Wednesday.

“It is never in order to yell at the chair or yell over the chair when the chair is attempting to maintain order,” she said. “It is never in order to yell at other senators.”

Thorpe delivered the speech on Wednesday shortly after midday. She called on the Albanese government to do more about Indigenous deaths in custody by implementing in full the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report and the 1997 Bringing Them Home report.