Government Claims 'It's OK To Be White' Vote Was A Mistake

Australian Senate Votes Against Motion That ‘It Is Okay To Be White’			Michael Masters  Getty Images		15 Oct 2018

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 chose to vote against the motion.

"I found it regrettable, but the leader of the government in the Senate (Mathias Cormann) will be making a statement on that shortly", the prime minister said in Canberra on Tuesday.

"We deplore racism of any kind. we should have opposed the motion.' In the Senate last night, the One Nation leader declared 'anti-white racism" was on the rise.

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

The phrase "it's okay to be white" is a well-known phrase in alt-right communities online.

He repeated Cormann's statement that it was an "administrative error", and he is reviewing the processes in his office.

The motion was recommitted for another vote in the Senate today.

"There is a process involved in determining the position of the government in relation to 50 to 60 motions a week", he said this morning.

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"I was unaware that when we entered the Senate to vote that it was on this particular motion".

It looks something like this, according to Cormann: an internal process that lets senators know just how they should vote on various bills that come up during the day went haywire.

Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi - born in Kenya and the first person of black African descent elected to the Australian parliament - also voted for the motion.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale told parliament it had "a long history in the white supremacist movement" but that didn't stop the government from supporting Hanson's motion. "Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified", he said. Nonetheless, it was defeated by Labor, the Greens and the crossbench on Monday afternoon in a narrow vote: 31 votes to 28.

He called the move a "stunt", and said government explanations about the vote were "bulldust".

However, not every member of the government walked back their support of the motion.

Senator Hanson tells Ben Fordham "I always have been against racism, right from the very beginning".

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

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