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George Brandis Is Upset About All The Times People Called Him “White”

Let me tell y'all what it's like. Being male, middle class and white.

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During a late night debate on the government's plans to water down Australia's race hate laws, attorney-general George Brandis listed all the times he was "deeply offended and insulted" by other senators calling him white.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Brandis listed three occasions in the 18C debate when Labor and Greens senators called him a "white man" and part of "a very small group of very privileged, largely older white folk".

Here's what the attorney-general said:

It is the crowning irony of this debate that those who champion section 18C have actually, in this very debate, attacked those of us who favour reform because of the colour of our skin.

When, on Tuesday, I said that I did not believe that Australia was a racist nation, what did [Labor senator Catryna Bilyk] say by way of interjection?

'Coming from a white man,' she said.

[Labor senator Malarndirri] McCarthy in her contribution said that I would not understand the issue because I was, quote 'a white man growing up in Petersham'.

And [Greens] Senator Di Natale said that this bill, quote 'has everything to do with allowing a very small group of very privileged, largely older white folk in this place to be more racist than they might otherwise be'.

Those remarks are, of course, deeply offensive and insulting.

It is deeply offensive and insulting to me for Senator Bilyk and Senator McCarthy to suggest the reason that I support this bill is the colour of my skin.

It is even more offensive to everyone in this chamber for Senator Di Natale to suggest that older white folk in this chamber support this bill so as to allow them to be, in his words, 'even more racist than they otherwise might be'.

All this came during a debate on whether or not to scale back section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and replace the words "intimidate, insult, offend and humiliate" with "intimidate and harass".

Sounds like George has been listening to Ben Fold's tune Rockin' the Suburbs.

"Let me tell ya'll what it's like being male, middle class and white..."

You can watch Brandis' full blown white outcry here:

Here's George Brandis listing all the times people called him "white" and he was deeply offended and insulted. #18C

And FYI, in the same 18C debate, Nationals senator Barry O'Sullivan talked about "negros" in the United States fighting for rights.

Here's Nationals senator Barry O'Sullivan saying "negro" during the #18C debate.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

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