An Australian senator tried to pass a motion saying ‘it’s okay to be white’ – and the government backed it

Pauline Hanson after she wore a burqa into the senate in 2017, then peeled off the headcovering after rising to speak. Screenshot.

“Anti-white racism is well and truly rife in our society,” an Australian senator claims, so on the first day parliament returned after as three week break, she proposed a motion declaring “that it is okay to be white”.

The motion was supported by government MPs, but narrowly defeated, 31 votes to 28, after after several crossbench senators rejected the motion calling for the Senate to acknowledge “the deplorable rise in anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation”.

Hanson’s motion

The founder of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, told the Senate that “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”.

She said saying it was okay to be white “should go without saying but I suspect many members in this place would struggle to say it” adding that “people have a right to be proud of their cultural background, whether they are black, white or brindle”.

South Australian Liberal Senator Anne Rushton said “the government condemns all forms of racism” and voted in support of Hanson’s motion.

Senior government figures, including communications minister Mitch Fifield, trade, tourism and investment minister Simon Birmingham, and indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion also backed the Hanson motion.

The Greens and independent Derryn Hinch were among those who spoke against the motion.

Greens leader Richard di Natale said: “The reality is this ‘it’s okay to be white’ slogan has got a long history in the white supremacist movement”.

Hanson told the chamber in her maiden speech 22 years ago that Australia was in danger of being “swamped by Asians”. Upon her return to federal politics in 2016, she declared the threat was Muslims and last year wore a burqa into the Senate claiming no one knew who she was. But she did wear her lapel pin, which signifies she’s a senator, on the outside of her garment.