The Australian Senate has narrowly voted down a motion lamenting the ‘deplorable rise of anti-white racism,’ despite the motion having the support of some senior ministers and the Ruling Liberal-National coalition.
The motion was put forward by anti-immigrant Senator Pauline Hanson, and fell short by 28 votes to 31. The government doesn’t control the upper house.
In its entirety, the bill called for the Australian Senate to acknowledge ‘the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilization,’ adding that ‘it is okay to be white.’
‘People have a right to be proud of their cultural background, whether they are black, white or brindle. If we cannot agree on this, I think it’s safe to say anti-white racism is well and truly rife in our society,’ Hanson said on Monday.
The motion perhaps measured the country’s attitudes about race, spotlighted in recent times by a cartoon of Serena Williams which made headlines around the world and remarks by a far-right senator in August who called for a ‘final solution’ to immigration.
Hanson, who has previously spoken out against Muslim immigration, grabbed headlines earlier this year for walking into the Senate wearing a full Islamic burqa to argue for it to be banned in public.
Pleased to report that Pauline Hanson’s “I’m white, so I’m OK” racist stunt failed in the Senate today. But disgusted the Liberals and Nationals voted with her.
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) October 15, 2018
Speaking against the motion on Monday, Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens, said Tuesday being white in Australia wasn’t just okay, it was ‘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?’ he said.
Independent politician Derryn Hinch, who voted against the motion, said on his Twitter he was happy to see it get struck down.
‘Pleased to report that Pauline Hanson’s ‘I’m white, so I’m OK’ racist stunt failed in the Senate today. But disgusted the Liberals and Nationals voted with her,’ he said on his official account.
Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter said on his Twitter after the vote that the decision to support Hanson proved the government ‘deplores racism of any kind.
While Australia prides itself as a harmonious immigrant and successful multicultural society, it has also received its share of accusations of its failure to tackle racism regularly over the years.
Australia has not been spared by the rise in populism going around the western world, especially on the hot potato issues of immigration and race.
Following a nationally-televised interview with far-right agitator Blair Cottrell in August, then-Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said there had ‘never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia.’
‘For the most part, we are a highly cohesive and harmonious society but that doesn’t deny for a moment that racism continues to be a significant social problem,’ he said. He went on to call it a case of hate being normalized.
White nationalism in the Australian Parliament. At least 28 senators think it’s ok to endorse neo-Nazi slogans. How abhorrent that Government senators voted in support of this. Yet another sign of hate being normalised https://t.co/VUSSvbrUXX
— Tim Soutphommasane (@timsout) October 15, 2018
Major backlash has come upon the government’s support of the motion by Australians on social media.
This government is absolutely disgusting. We have always known Hanson is rancid but I thought there was some residual decency in the LNP.
— Terry Sweetman (@Terrytoo69) October 15, 2018