Staff blamed for 'OK to be white' vote

Australian Senate Votes Against Motion That 'It Is Okay To Be White'

"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".

"As a result of an administrative process failure, the government senators in the chamber ended up on advice voting in support of 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.

Senator Cormann said the government originally resolved to oppose the motion in September and blamed an administrative error for the Coalition's senators being advised to back it on Monday.

"There are administrative processes in place to ensure that as a team we make the right decisions and on this occasion the process failed and I take responsibility for that", Cormann said.

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

The phrase has a long history amongst the so-called alt-right in the U.S., and is regularly used to provoke outrage by right-wing trolls in political debates.

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Attorney-General Christian Porter - who sits in the lower house and therefore did not vote in Monday's Senate motion, but who tweeted his support of it on Monday night - issued a statement on Tuesday saying his office had also suffered an "error". The Government voted against the motion, and it was defeated on the voices.

Denouncing the motion on Tuesday morning, Labor members pointed out the phrase was also popular with the infamous white supremacist Ku Klux Klan in the United States.

"People have a right to be proud of their cultural background whether they are black, white, or brindle".

Pauline Hanson says "anti-white" racism is on the rise in Australia. The affluent Sydney seat is traditional Liberal heartland but the electorate is considered progressive on social issues.

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.

The phrases have been used by far-right groups to stoke racial division.

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