27 Senators Just Voted With Pauline Hanson To Say That "It Is OK To Be White"

    The slogan is used by the white supremacist and alt-right movements.

    Twenty-seven Australian senators — including 10 government ministers — voted for One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's motion declaring that "it is OK to be white".

    LUKAS COCH / AAP

    Hanson unsuccessfully attempted to get the Senate to pass a motion acknowledging the "deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation" and that "it is OK to be white" on Monday afternoon.

    "Anyone who pays attention to the news or spends any time on social media has to acknowledge that there has been a rise in anti-white racism and a rise in attacks on the very ideals of Western civilisation," Hanson told the Senate.

    "I would also hope the Senate does the right thing and acknowledges that it is indeed okay to be white. Such a simple sentence should go without saying, but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it.

    "People have a right to be proud of their cultural background, whether they are black, white or brindle. If we can't agree on this, I think it's safe to say anti-white racism is well and truly rife in our society."

    Hanson's motion was narrowly defeated 31 to 28.

    Dynamic Red

    Twenty-seven senators voted with Hanson, including 10 government ministers.

    Communications minister Mitch Fifield, trade minister Simon Birmingham, indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion, small business minister Michaelia Cash, deputy leader of the Nationals and minister for sport Bridget McKenzie, resources minister Matt Canavan, assistant minister for home affairs Linda Reynolds, assistant minister for treasury Zed Seselja, assistant minister for agriculture Richard Colbeck and the assistant minister for international development Anne Ruston all voted in favour.

    Before the vote, Ruston told the chamber: "The government condemns all forms of racism".

    Liberal senators Eric Abetz, Slade Brockman, David Bushby, Jonathon Duniam, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Lucy Gichuhi, Jane Hume, James McGrath, Jim Molan, Dean Smith, Amanda Stoker and National senators Barry O'Sullivan and John Williams also voted for the motion.

    As did One Nation's Peter Georgiou, Katter Australia Party's Fraser Anning, Australian Conservatives' Cory Bernardi, and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

    Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance, Derryn Hinch, and Tim Storer voted against. Brian Burston was not in the chamber.

    Greens leader Richard Di Natale accused One Nation of taking the "It is OK to be white" slogan from the white supremacist movement.

    "It's not just okay to be white in Australia, it's actually a ticket to winning the lotto," Di Natale said. "It's a ticket to winning the lotto."

    "Just look around this chamber and see how many faces you see that aren't white. Have a look in the privileged positions of Australian society, people who occupy these seats of the rich and powerful. How many of them are not white? Last time I checked, it's the privileged white Anglo community that are the ones occupying the seats of influence.

    "You know what it's not okay to be in this country? It's not okay to be Aboriginal, because you're more likely to die younger, to be locked up. It's not okay to be an African person, because you're more likely to experience racism."

    Greens leader Richard Di Natale: "The reality is this 'it's OK to be white' slogan has got a long history in the white supremacist movement where both these clowns get most of their material from." https://t.co/7qZmsu8eWF

    Hinch dismissed Hanson's motion as a stunt and that "could have been written on a piece of toilet paper". He said it was "racism" that is not only wrong, it could be dangerous.

    "With the federal election looming I'm starting to think that Senator Hanson and her former colleague Senator Anning are now locked in a race to see who can be the biggest, the loudest, racist bigot in their contest to see who can get to the bottom of the sewer first," Hinch said.

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

    Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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