Australian government tries to explain ‘it’s OK to be white’ vote

Frederick Owens
October 18, 2018

Mr Porter said he was reviewing the processes in his office, which had put government senators in a hard position because their advice was to vote for the motion.

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

Labor also voted against the motion and attacked Coalition senators for backing it. Fair dinkum, Mathias. You're supposed to be better than this shit.

The motion by Pauline Hanson, leader of the anti-Islam One Nation party, also condemned "anti-white racism".

The "OK" slogan is known to be associated with far right groups and social media trolls.

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.

Christian Porter said said the directive sent from his office to back the motion was due to a misinterpretation by his office "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".

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Senate tried to turn things around by playing up the fact that a slim majority voted against the motion, claiming that it proves that the government isn't racist.

At the time, Senator Ann Ruston made the only statement from the Coalition, saying "the Government condemns all forms of racism".

The government's leader in the upper house Mathias Cormann took personal responsibility for the error and apologised to the Senate. Such a simple sentence should go without saying, but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it.

It is true that the slogan "It's Okay to Be White" is thought to have originated among alt-right users of the 4chan anonymous message board, but it appears to be Senator Keneally and the other opponents of Ms Hanson's motion who have played into their hands - as the slogan's reputed objective is to goad leftists into voicing opposition to the statement, revealing what its proponents consider to be a latent anti-white bias.

Senator Penny Wong said the phrase was used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

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

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