One would have thought ministerial staff would be particularly alert to Hanson motions, and think very carefully before concluding she was doing something as unlikely as putting forward an anti-racist one.
The motion was defeated 28-31, but the government was slammed after almost two dozen members of the National and Liberal parties voted alongside Hanson and Fraser Anning.
But Mr Porter said the recommendation from his office put government senators in a hard position.
Among the 23 people who voted in favour was Australia's first parliamentarian of black African descent, Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi of the governing coalition.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale also had a crack at former One Nation senator Anning and Senator Hanson.
"The Government senators' actions in the Senate this afternoon confirm that the Government deplores racism of any kind", he said.
"They had 25 days in which to reflect and work out that this is in fact a battle cry of the white supremacist grubs of our country", Mr Dreyfus told the lower house.
On Tuesday the government sought to distance itself from the motion, with the government's leader in the Senate Mathias Cormann blaming an "administrative process failure" that led to the government mistakenly voting in favour of the motion. "If we can not agree on this, I think it's safe to say anti-white racism is well and truly rife in our society".
MS toddler found stabbed and dead in oven
Williams said he won't release the names of the grandmother or the toddler until the filing of the murder charge is completed. A woman in Greenville, about 20 miles from Shaw, pleaded guilty to killing her 3-year-old son in an oven in March 2011.
"It's all I need when I come in, I don't look for the whip, I look for you people [Labor]", the government senator said, in an exchange captured clearly by the Senate microphones.
Cormann was paired and not in the chamber when it was dealt with; he only found out the government had voted for it after the event (it was defeated 31-29).
"It is just beyond belief that the coalition voted for Pauline Hanson's offensive and ridiculous Senate motion about race yesterday", Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said on Twitter.
"We should have opposed the motion when it came up in the Senate yesterday", he said.
One of those who opposed the bill, Justice Party Senator Derryn Hinch, called it a "headline-grabbing stunt".
Hanson's motion had been originally raised several weeks ago and had been on the Senate notice paper for some time.
"Senator Hanson tweeted a very clever line-up dreamed up by, I imagine, a giggling cohort in the backroom, her line about "It's okay to be white" and then went public with it before most of the senators in this chamber had even heard about it", he said. "I would say this sort of racism is not only wrong, it could be risky".