Aussie government blames admin error for 'okay to be white' vote

Australian Senator Pauline Hanson wears a burqa in Parliament as she calls for a burqa ban in August

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

Australia's indigenous affairs minister and several of his colleagues faced calls to resign on Monday, after they backed a failed parliamentary motion tabled by a controversial senator that declared: "It is okay to be white".

But a clearly unimpressed Mr Morrison described his senators' support for the motion as "regrettable", prompting Senator Cormann to apologise a short time later.

There is no explaining away, contextualising, justifying or dismissing this outrage by the Coalition.

"As a result of the administrative process failure, the government senators in the chamber ended up, on advice, voting in support of the motion", the minister for finance said. Fair dinkum, Mathias. You're supposed to be better than this shit.

"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. Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified".

It emerged Tuesday that Attorney General Christian Porter had issued instructions to senators from the governing Liberal party to back Hanson's motion.

ACT senator Zed Seselja said he wasn't aware of the association between the phrase "it's OK to be white" and white supremacists, after he voted in favour of a One Nation motion using the words.

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Five Coalition senators who were not present were paired with senators who opposed the motion, so essentially, voted for it as well.

The government's leader in the upper house Mathias Cormann took personal responsibility for the error and apologised to the Senate.

"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.

"If I said that "it's ok to be black", every senator would have voted for it".

"I simply want to say that the criticism of me and my office is a completely fair cop", he told parliament.

During the debate, crossbench senator Derryn Hinch labelled the motion "obscene" while Greens leader Richard di Natale likened it to a white supremacist slogan.

"Senator Hanson tweeted a very clever line-up dreamed up by, I imagine, a giggling cohort in the backroom, her line about "It's okay to be white" and then went public with it before most of the senators in this chamber had even heard about it", he said.

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