‘White guilt’ Pauline Hanson explodes
PAULINE Hanson says Scott Morrison has "white guilt" and accused him of pandering to "left-wing extremists" after the government blamed an "administrative error" for why its senators voted for her 'it's okay to be white' motion.
The One Nation leader slammed the government for its "unforeseen backflip" after Prime Minister Morrison said he "found it regrettable" that government senators had voted for her motion and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann declared it had been an unfortunate mistake.
Senator Hanson also doubled down on her motion in a press conference at Parliament House, declaring: "The most demonised person in Australia is the white male".
The motion, which also declared "anti-white" racism was on the rise in Australia, sparked an immediate backlash yesterday with critics saying it was "straight out of the alt-right playbook".
Senator Hanson dubbed it "one of the most remarkable days ever in Australian politics" for Labor, Liberal and Greens MPs to say they would vote against a parliamentary motion condemning "attacks on Western civilisation and white people because of their skin colour".
"If I had said 'it's okay to be black' every single senator in the chamber would have voted for it," she said.
"What today's announcement shows is that this Government is either so worried about the outcome of the weekend's Wentworth by-election that they feel the need to pander to left-wing extremists that they believe it's not okay to be white, or they blindly vote on important motions, bills and legislation without proper consideration.
"As I stated on the floor of the Senate, I have always believed it's ok to be black, white or brindle."
Government senators, including frontbenchers Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash, supported the vote in the Senate yesterday afternoon despite having agreed last month to oppose it.
Labor frontbencher Penny Wong blasted the government's clarification as a "pathetic attempt at a clean-up" as Labor, Greens and crossbench senators lined up to condemn the government for the error this afternoon.
"That's what it was - a pathetic attempt at a clean-up where this minister (Mathias Cormann) has to come in and try and take on the chin the fact that they all voted for a motion that included a phrase that everybody knows is used by white supremacists," Senator Wong told the Senate.
"All of you did so. And now you want to come in and say, 'Oops, we made a mistake.' We don't believe you. No-one believes you, and everybody knows this is a just craven and pathetic attempt to try and clean up your mess."
Attorney-General Christian Porter admitted his office advised government senators by mistake to back the motion without his knowledge, while Senator Cormann, the leader of the government in the Senate, took full responsibility for ultimately backing the vote.
Mr Porter was grilled about the oversight in Question Time, claiming the motion was misinterpreted by his office.
"There are about 50 to 60 Senate motions that can be generated in any week. A great many are transmitted to my office," Mr Porter said.
"This (motion) was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism.
"The associations of the language in the second part of the motion were not picked up. The fact is that the relevant email on the motion was not seen by me.
"As Mr Mathias Cormann noted, that is an error. I take full responsibility for that decision process in my office."
Senator Cormann said he was embarrassed the administrative error had "slipped through".
"Yesterday, as a result of an administrative process failure, the government senators in the Chamber ended up, on advice, voting in support of the motion," he told reporters in Canberra.
"As leader of the government in the Senate, I take responsibility for that error and I'm sorry that that happened.
"It is indeed regrettable.
"As I indicated when this motion first came up, we made a very clear decision to oppose that motion."
"It wasn't voted on in September. It came back up yesterday and it slipped through. It shouldn't have. And I take responsibility for that."
Senator Cormann said the government had intended to block the motion and make a statement
saying that the government deplores racism of any kind.
Mr Porter released a statement clarifying the error had been an email from his office that went out without his knowledge.
He insisted the connotations of the language, which has been liked to white supremacist slogans, would have been picked up if he had seen it.
"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," he said.
"The associations of the language were not picked up. Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified."
The Attorney-General said he would be reviewing the processes in his office to prevent another administrative error occurring in future.
He argued his tweet backing Liberal Senator Anne Ruston, who rose to declare in the senate that the government deplored all forms of racism, was meant as nothing more than support for that same proposition.
With the government support, Senator Hanson's motion was only narrowly defeated yesterday 31 votes to 28.
Both the Attorney-General and Senator Cormann tweeted yesterday that the government senators' actions "confirm that the Government deplores racism of any kind".
Senator Hanson said yesterday those who didn't support her motion were sending a message that it wasn't okay to be white.
The Queensland senator said anyone who watched the news or social media could see increased attacks on western civilisation and the prevalence of anti-white racism.
"It is indeed OK to be white. Such a simple sentence should go without saying but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it," she told parliament.
"People have a right to be proud of their cultural background whether they are black, white or brindle."
Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch savaged Senator Hanson, saying she was locked in a race to the bottom of the sewer with Katter's Australian Party member Fraser Anning.
"It could have been written on a piece of toilet paper," Senator Hinch said of the motion.
"This sort of racism is not only wrong, it could be dangerous."
Greens leader Richard Di Natale also had a crack at former One Nation senator Anning and Senator Hanson.
"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," Senator Di Natale said.
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally tweeted that it was a motion "straight out of the alt-right playbook".
Senator Hanson said those who shot down her motion, including Labor, the Greens, Senator Hinch and Centre Alliance senators, have sent a message.
"They're all saying it's not OK to be white," she told 2GB radio after the vote yesterday.
She said an example of anti-white racism was people being chosen for jobs because of their ethnic background.
"It should be the best person for the job, regardless of your cultural background," she said.
Having previously told parliament in two controversial speeches Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians and Muslims, Senator Hanson said she had always stood against racism.
"I called for equality for all Australians, regardless of their cultural background, the colour of your skin," she said.