A heated clash has erupted in Senate estimates between Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe over funding for Northern Territory police.

Senator Thorpe was questioning officials about community safety funding and how money was being used to support Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

Senator Thorpe’s attention was turned to Senator McCarthy when she was told $14.2 million had been provided to the NT police for ‘high visibility police and law enforcement operations – sparking a heated exchange of words.

Senator McCarthy accused Senator Thorpe of disrespecting members of the Indigenous community.

“How dare you, when we have First Nations people working in the police force … who are doing their best to improve the situation across the Northern Territory?” she said.

Senator Thorpe yelled that “police are police” and declared that “they are the ones killing our people”, referencing cases of Indigenous deaths such as Kumanjayi Walker.

Both Senators later withdrew their remarks.