The Morrison government has put more than its own clumsiness on display by voting for a motion in the Senate that it is “OK to be white”.

The big myth of this absurd vote was that the government made an “administrative error” and did not realise its mistake until it was too late.

What is really on display is the torment within the Liberals over what their party stands for.

A united party, strong in its rejection of racism, would not walk into an obvious trap from a fringe party with a history of inflammatory stunts and a ludicrous motion.

The foolishness is astonishing. What if Pauline Hanson stood by the doors of the Senate, handing our burkas? Would the Liberals and Nationals oblige and put them on?

Attorney-General Christian Porter has owned up to the mistake and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has taken responsibility, but this is about much more than errors by staff.

The fact is that the Liberals and Nationals are constantly torn over what to do about One Nation. Should they repudiate or copy them? Their vacillation makes them easy targets for a trick.

The Coalition has blamed a rogue email from a minister’s office for its “regrettable” decision to back One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s incendiary motion that declared, “It’s OK to be white.”

– David Crowe

Read More: Undoing the ‘OK to Be White’ Vote May Not Undo the Damage

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