MP pushes for burqa ban under new plan

BURQAS would be banned at major airports as well as at citizenship ceremonies under a controversial plan to be debated in Parliament.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi also wants to forbid the wearing of face veils when claiming social security payments at Centrelink offices.

The maverick senator, who quit the Liberals last year to establish his own right-wing party, also believes the burqa - which entirely covers a woman's face - could be totally banned in the ACT and NT.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi wants face veils to be banned in major airports, citizen ceremonies and Centrelink. Picture Kym Smith
Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi wants face veils to be banned in major airports, citizen ceremonies and Centrelink. Picture Kym Smith

"It (the burqa) is a direct challenge to our cultural norms and our societal expectations. It's a way of one group isolating themselves," Senator Bernardi said.

"It's common sense. If you're at an airport you need to show your face, if you want a Centrelink payment you need to show your face, if you're swearing allegiance to Australia you need to show your face.

"There's also a massive security risk attached to it, particularly when we are relying on facial recognition."

 

Mr Bernadi said the burqa is a direct challenge to our cultural norms and our societal expectations. Picture: Jenny Evans
Mr Bernadi said the burqa is a direct challenge to our cultural norms and our societal expectations. Picture: Jenny Evans

The government has previously declared that federal Parliament does not have the power to ban the burka.

But Senator Bernardi, who has long supported a ban on the Muslim clothing, believes he has found a loophole in national laws that would allow a limited prohibition in locations "owned" by the Commonwealth.

Under his bill, burqas would be banned in six capital city airports - including Sydney's Kingsford Smith - as well as Coolangatta, because they are Commonwealth land. It would also outlaw it in Centrelink offices and at citizenship ceremonies.

Major airports is just one place Mr Bernadi wants the face veil banned. Picture: Jenny Evans
Major airports is just one place Mr Bernadi wants the face veil banned. Picture: Jenny Evans

Senator Bernardi said he had no issue with head scarfs that simply cover a woman's hair. He will table his bill in Parliament today and hopes that it will be debated later in the year. The government can, however, use its numbers to close it down.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson caused outrage last year when she wore a burqa in the Senate in a much-derided stunt that was slammed by both Labor and the Coalition.

Those who oppose a burqa ban argue it could result in some women being further isolated and confined to their home and that some choose to wear it as a form of protest against ogling men.



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