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June 24, 2021

Hanson scorned for Senate burqa stunt

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Pauline Hanson has drawn a stinging rebuke from the attorney-general and wide condemnation from the Senate after entering federal parliament wearing a burqa.

The One Nation leader took her seat during question time on Thursday wearing the Islamic veil, before removing it to ask Attorney-General George Brandis whether the government would consider banning the burqa.

The full-length garment, which covers the entire body and face, has been banned in several European countries including France, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as African nations Chad and Congo-Brazzaville.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has also called for a ban.

An angry Senator Brandis said the government would not consider such a ban.

“I would caution and counsel you with respect to be very, very careful of the offence you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians,” he said.

The vast majority of Muslims in Australia were law-abiding, he said.

“To mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do,” Senator Brandis said.

Senator Hanson said she had been planning the stunt for months to expose security risks in parliament.

She said security staff did not ask to see her face but relied on the word of One Nation senator Brian Burston.

“It’s been an idea of mine to actually expose the burqa,” she told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“I’m very much against the burqa. I think it’s confronting. I think it’s un-Australian.

“
She said it was an uncomfortable experience wearing the burqa.
”It is not a religious requirement. This is brought in by men who want to cover up their women. It is oppressing women,” she said.

She received no support in the senate, with Senator Brandis receiving a standing ovation from Labor and Greens senators while coalition senators also applauded following his admonishment.

Senator Hanson then left the chamber with her full-face covering in hand.

The Senate later rejected her motion calling for a burqa ban, following a debate in which she insisted the stunt was about proving the need for tighter security in parliament.

The stunt drew anger from the opposition and crossbench, with Derryn Hinch questioning whether Senator Hanson could remain in the chamber.

Senate President Stephen Parry said her identity was confirmed before she entered, and he would not dictate dress standards for senators.

Senators from all sides of politics condemned the stunt, including crossbencher Jacqui Lambie who has her own private bill before parliament to ban the burqa from public places.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari, a non-practising Muslim, labelled Senator Hanson a disgrace.

“The Senate has become a circus. Hanson is a disgrace. Government is weak and reliant on her vote. Pathetic,” he tweeted.

“FFS – The day after even the TRUMP administration called One Nation a risk to religious freedom – Hanson walks into parl in a burqa.”


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