The Australian Senate has narrowly voted down a motion condemning “anti-white racism”, despite government senators voting for the controversial statement echoing alt-right rhetoric.
On Monday the Senate voted 31 to 28 to reject a motion put by Pauline Hanson – the leader of the anti-immigrant nativist One Nation party – which acknowledged the “deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation” and “it is OK to be white”.
Hanson’s motion received 23 votes from the ruling Liberal-National Coalitionincluding the deputy Senate leader and trade minister, Simon Birmingham, the small business minister, Michaelia Cash, the resources minister, Matt Canavan, communications minister Mitch Fifield, Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion and deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie.
Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi – born in Kenya and the first person of black African descent elected to the Australian parliament – also voted for the motion.
The government leader in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, and five other Coalition senators were paired with senators who intended to vote against the motion but were not in the Senate, meaning those Coalition senators also supported the motion but did not vote.