'It's OK To Be White': Government Senators Side With Pauline Hanson's Controversial Motion
The phrase, a favourite of far-right movements, was adopted by One Nation leader Hanson in a Senate motion that was briefly debated on Monday afternoon.
Hanson's motion asked that the Senate acknowledge "The deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation" and that "it is OK to be white."
Greens leader Richard Di Natale, independent senator Derryn Hinch and others spoke against it.
"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," Di Natale said.
"The reality is this does nothing other than foster more division and hatred in our community. It's got no place in the Australian parliament."
The phrase hit headlines in Australia earlier this year, after provocateur Lauren Southern displayed the slogan on a shirt she wore while visiting Australia.
Government senator Anne Ruston made a short statement saying the government condemns all forms of racism.
However, that didn't stop the government senators from getting behind the motion. After the Senate chair put the question "that Senator Hanson's motion, number 1092, be agreed to", there were 28 senators -- including a number of government members -- who voted yes.
The motion was officially defeated 31-28.
Official voting records showed government senators including Simon Birmingham, Michaelia Cash, Mitch Fifield, Matt Canavan and Bridget O'Sullivan voting for the motion, as well as a variety of crossbench senators including Cory Bernardi, David Leyonhjelm and Fraser Anning.
It comes just months after former One Nation senator Anning, now a representative of the Katter's Australia Party, called for a "final solution" to Muslim immigration -- a phrase many compared to Nazi rhetoric around the holocaust.
Senator Hinch condemned Hanson's Monday motion, claiming it "could have been written on a piece of toilet paper".
"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. That's what this obscene motion is all about," he said.
Former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane called it a "neo-Nazi slogan".