On Monday the Senate voted 31 to 28 to reject a motion put by Pauline Hanson - the leader of the anti-immigrant nativist One Nation party - which acknowledged the "deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation" and "it is OK to be white".
The government leader in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, and five other Coalition senators were paired with senators who meant to vote against the motion but were not in the Senate, meaning those Coalition senators also supported the motion but did not vote.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also says it was "regrettable" Liberal senators supported Hanson's motion, which claimed that "anti-white" racism was on the rise in Australia.
Attorney-General Christian Porter, a member of the lower house, said the actions of government senators confirmed that view.
The Australian Senate has narrowly voted down a motion condemning "anti-white racism", despite government senators voting for the controversial statement echoing alt-right rhetoric.
"There are administrative processes in place to ensure that as a team we make the right decisions and on this occasion the process failed and I take responsibility for that", Cormann said.
The motion was recommitted for another vote in the Senate today.
Senator Cormann said the government originally resolved to oppose the motion in September and blamed an administrative error for the Coalition's senators being advised to back it on Monday.More news: Zlatan Ibrahimovic meets Thailand cave rescue boys on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
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Mr Porter said he was reviewing the processes in his office, which had put government senators in a hard position because their advice was to vote for the motion.
"His vote for white racism in the Australian Parliament as Aboriginal Affairs minister is untenable #wontworkwithnigel", Dr Rigney tweeted.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said he thought the government had misread the electorate and quickly moved to reverse it when they heard the reaction from Wentworth voters.
"I was unaware that when we entered the Senate to vote that it was on this particular motion".
"This one was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism. Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified", he said.
"Why did he support the motion?"
"I'm sick and exhausted of it and so are a lot of people".