Australia

Pauline Hanson's 'all lives matter' motion overwhelmingly defeated in the Senate

Pauline Hanson labelled George Floyd a "criminal and a thug" during her speech on her "all lives matter" motion.

An attempt by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson to move a provocative “all lives matter” motion has been overwhelmingly blocked by federal senators.

The government used its numbers to squash debate on the motion that asked the Senate to "note that all lives matter".

Coalition politicians joined with Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers to vote 51-2 against Senator Hanson’s attempts to pursue the matter.

Senator Hanson and her One Nation colleague Malcom Roberts were the only two in favour of extending debate on the motion. 

“All lives matter” is a slogan that has become associated with far-right activists and critics of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Senator Hanson moved the motion after tens of thousands of Australians defied public health orders to march in Black Lives Matter rallies across Australia last weekend. More are planned for this weekend.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has renewed calls for the defunding of police departments.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter protests.
AAP

The protests, which aim to draw attention to the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died in custody in Australia, mirror anti-racism and police brutality demonstrations in the US sparked by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of police.

In arguing in favour of her motion, Senator Hanson pointed to the fact Mr Floyd had a criminal record, labelling him “a dangerous thug”.

Mr Floyd had two convictions for minor drug offences and served seven years in prison for a robbery in 2007.

He moved to Minneapolis after being released from jail in 2014 and had turned his life around. 

'Gutless'

After her motion was blocked, Senator Hanson accused her fellow senators of creating division in Australia.

“I just call them gutless not to stand up for this,” she told Nine Radio on Thursday.

“If people don’t stand up to this, I’m in fear of what it’s going to be like to live in this country.”

It comes two years after Coalition senators backed a controversial motion moved by Senator Hanson that it was “OK to be white”, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison later describing his senators’ support as “regrettable”.

On Friday, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, the government’s Senate leader, defended the move to block debate about the "all lives matter" motion.

“That sentence when taken in isolation looks relatively straightforward but you've got to consider things in their context,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“In the current context it does raise a whole series of complex policy matters that we believe cannot be dealt with just by a simple notice of motion in the fashion that was proposed.

“In the context of a more detailed, more nuanced and more extensive debate - I think individual senators would have the opportunity to more precisely explain what their position is.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Friday
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Friday
SBS News

Labor’s Indigenous affairs spokeswoman Linda Burney criticised Senator Hanson for attempting to move the motion.

“I don't take too much notice of Pauline Hanson I have to say, but I think putting that motion forward is really provocative,” she told reporters on Friday.

“We know that that slogan is [used by] the alt-right in America and we do not need to see this in this country.”

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