The ‘It’s OK to be white’ parliamentary saga continues to get more and more pathetic. After the government announced that it actually didn’t mean to vote with Pauline Hanson and One Nation on the deliberately provocative motion in the Senate, they’re now trying to have the whole vote again so they can go with ‘no’ this time.
It started when Penny Wong got up and basically gave the government a serve over the whole debacle, which is a pretty obvious move now that they’ve blamed their vote on a “regrettable” administrative error:
It was only when the Liberal candidate for Wentworth came out against the motion that it started to dawn on the government that they might have made a mistake—not that it was wrong in principle to support a motion that really can be characterised as akin to something a Neo-Nazi would support; not that it was wrong to be led by the noes by Senator Hanson. What they really responded to was that it might cost them votes in Wentworth.
Wong then suggested the government should try giving the vote another go and see if they get it right this time:
In closing, my challenge to the government is this: if you’re serious about fixing this up, why don’t you recommit the motion? Why don’t you recommit the motion and not allow this stain in a multicultural nation to remain on the record of this Senate?
They leapt at the suggestion. Mathias Cormann, who has had the humiliating responsibility of leading the government’s attempt at backpedalling over the issue, seemed immediately keen.
“I thank Senator Wong for her contribution,” Cormann said. “On behalf of the government, I seek leave to recommit the vote on motion No. 1,092, which was voted on yesterday.”
We’ve not yet seen a fresh vote, though it’s possible we’ll get there during sitting today.
Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the government is keen to forget about the whole debacle. Considering this was a Senate issue, you can probably imagine why they’re annoyed. Christopher Pyne described it as a distraction which is only cared about in the “Canberra bubble”, but admitted the Coalition got it wrong and had been suitably embarrassed over it.
Ah well. When you ‘accidentally’ vote for a white supremacist slogan the first time, why not give it another burl?