• Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has apologised for his 'its okay to be white' vote. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Indigenous Advisory Council co-chair says he accepts the minister's apology.
17 Oct 2018 - 11:28 AM  UPDATED 17 Oct 2018 - 11:31 AM

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion has apologised for voting for a One Nation motion which declared 'that it is okay to be white'.

He said supporting that motion was indeed an 'error' and that he 'categorically rejects any implication that downplays racism and historic injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders'.

He sent the  statement of apology to Roy Ah See, co-chair of the prime minister's Indigenous Advisory Council and NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) chair, who tweeted it in full.

"I have spoken to Nigel Scullion on behalf of [NSWALC]... I've accepted his explanation and apology," Mr Ah See wrote.

Mr Scullion's apology came after his vote attracted particular attention, with Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy saying how "disappointed" she was to see the Indigenous Affairs minister vote for the motion.

She said the government senators who supported the motion were "willfully blind, willfully deaf".

But Mr Scullion maintained that the government had always intended to vote against the motion. 

"I deplore any and all forms of racism and I have never supported or defended any form of racism in my life," he said.

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"The motion in question was recommitted for another vote in the Senate yesterday and the government voted against it as it always intended to do." 

In a remarkable backflip on Tuesday, senate leader Matthias Cormann issued an embarrassing apology, claiming his team of government senators only supported the motion because of an 'administrative error'. 

The government then used its numbers to order a second vote and joined the opposition in voting against the motion.

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