Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

'It's OK to be white' bill defeated in Australian Senate

'It's OK to be white' bill defeated in Australian Senate

"Yesterday, as a result of an administrative process failure, the government senators in the chamber ended up, on advice, voting in support of the motion", he said.

It also spoke of the "deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation".

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has apologised after Government senators voted for a Pauline Hanson motion that used far-right slogan "It's OK to be white", saying the vote was the result of an "administrative error" and the Government had previously made a decision to vote against the motion.

Camera IconFederal finance minister Mathias Cormann has apologised for Government support for a Pauline Hanson motion that used far-right slogan "It's OK to be white".Picture: Nic Ellis.

The assistant minister for worldwide development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, made a short statement to the Senate that "the government condemns all forms of racism".

"The Government senators' actions in the Senate this afternoon confirm that the Government deplores racism of any kind", he said.

But when the motion returned for a vote this week, government senators voted with One Nation.

So too did crossbench senators Peter Georgiou, Cory Bernardi, David Leyonhjelm and Fraser Anning.

In August, Anning called for a "final solution" to immigration - claiming he was unaware of the connotation of the phrase - earning condemnation even from Hanson.

Senator Cormann said the Coalition had actually resolved to oppose the One Nation motion when it was first raised in September, but blamed an "administrative error" for what transpired.

Its inclusion in the motion is also seen as a nod to the Canadian activist Lauren Southern, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase when she visited Australia earlier this year.

Greens leader Richard di Natale said: "The reality is this "it's okay to be white" slogan has got a long history in the white supremacist movement".

"Labour senator Kristina Keneally had sharp words for the Liberals - Australia's conservative-leaning governing party, who backed the motion, accusing them of "[siding] with One Nation... on a motion straight out of the alt-right playbook".

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