A controversial motion put to Parliament using language similar to that utilised by white supremacists has been lambasted as “shameful” and “deeply embarrassing” for the country.
On Monday, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson introduced a motion proposing the Senate acknowledge “the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation” and “it is okay to be white”.
It was narrowly defeated after being supported by Coalition senators, with the Coalition later blaming their support of the motion on an administrative error, but did not explain the nature of the error.
Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly said he was “extremely disappointed” to see the Coalition vote for the “dog whistle motion”, saying “it’s okay to be white” was a favourite catchphrase of far-right trolls online.
He said it was particularly concerning given the recent ABC report that exposed attempts by the alt-right, comprising of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, to infiltrate the National Party.
“...[O]ur Parliament should be vigilant in denying extreme right wing racists and their slogans legitimacy. Shamefully in this case, the Parliament has promoted them,” he said.
Dr Kelly said the Coalition’s excuse of an administrative error as the reason they voted for the motion was inadequate and flimsy for two reasons.
“First, any motion put forward by Pauline Hanson on race would surely warrant close consideration by the government,” he said.
“Second, the government had 25 days to work out whether they would support or oppose this motion.
“The fact that Coalition members voted with Pauline Hanson is not only deeply embarrassing for the Coalition, but also for the country.”
The Greens’ candidate for Eden-Monaro Patrick McGinlay said the motion was “a retrograde step”, being done to divide the community.
“It’s just somewhere between sad and infuriating this elected person, rather than trying to bring the community together, is seemingly looking for ways to divide it yet again,” he said.
Liberal Senator Jim Molan, who shared videos by far-right UK group Britain First purporting to show Muslim violence in Europe on Facebook last year, declined to comment on why he supported the motion.
A bag of pigs entrails was thrown at Dr Kelly’s office door in September, just days after neo-Nazi stickers were placed on his Bega office.