Published: Tue, October 16, 2018

'Admin error' blamed for Coalition's support of Hanson's 'OK to be white'

'Admin error' blamed for Coalition's support of Hanson's 'OK to be white'

Pauline Hanson has unsuccessfully moved a motion in federal parliament declaring, "it's okay to be white".

Pauline Hanson, the leader of Australia's far-right One Nation party, wanted backing for her motion which stated "it is OK to be white".

Senator Hanson's motion failed only narrowly last night, with Labor, the Greens, Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch and South Australian Senators Tim Storer, Rex Patrick and Sterling Griff opposed, but a swathe of Government senators - including Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash - voting in favour.

"I am sorry for any suggestion that either I, my colleagues or the Government supports any form of racism and I categorically reject any implication contained in yesterday's motion that downplays racism and historic injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians".

The phrase "it's OK to be white" is widely associated with alt-right, white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements, particularly in the US.

This morning Finance minister Mathias Cormann apologised, saying his team only supported it because of an "administrative error".

"As acknowledged by Matthias there was an error in the Senate vote yesterday". That is a decision that should have been carried through into the vote yesterday.

Later, attorney-general Christian Porter said the advice was sent out from his office "without my knowledge".

"It appears that, of the very large number of motions on which my office's views are routinely sought, this one was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism", he said. "Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified". Nonetheless, it was defeated by Labor, the Greens and the crossbench on Monday afternoon in a narrow vote: 31 votes to 28.

"Looks like Scott Morrison is suffering from a bad case of it's okay to be white guilt", she tweeted on Tuesday.

"Why did he support the motion? Such a simple sentence should go without saying but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it", Senator Hanson told the Senate.

A closer examination of the audio captured in the Senate chamber during the vote has picked up a government senator seemingly bragging that he didn't know what he was voting for.

"I'm sick and exhausted of it and so are a lot of people".

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