The peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples says it expects more from the Federal Government after coalition senators backed Pauline Hanson’s “it is OK to be white” motion in Parliament.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples on Tuesday published a list of the 28 senators who supported the motion.
It said One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s motion was designed to divide Australia rather than celebrate diversity and the phrase “it is OK to be white” is one favoured by white supremacists.
“We expect much more from our Federal Government than unashamed support of the politics of race and bigotry,” National Congress chief executive officer Gary Oliver said.
Congress co-chairs Dr Jackie Huggins and Rod Little questioned the government’s explanation that the vote in favour of the motion was due to an “administrative error”.
“Was it an administrative error when the Coalition government cut $534 million from the Indigenous Affairs Portfolio in the 2014 Federal Budget and defunded National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples?’ Ms Huggins said.
Mr Little questioned why the motion wasn’t opposed in the first instance.
“And, was it a mistake to appoint Tony Abbott as Indigenous Envoy without consulting with First Nations people? We say yes,” he said.
The motion was narrowly defeated 28 votes to 31, despite the Coalition’s backing.
By Wendy Caccetta