Burqa stunt starts Senate dress code

One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson takes off a burqa during Senate Question Time on August 17.
One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson takes off a burqa during Senate Question Time on August 17. LUKAS COCH

PAULINE Hanson's "ban the burqa” stunt could lead to a new dress code for the Australian Senate and a "time-out” for MPs who breach the house rules.

Senate President Stephen Parry wrote to the Senate Standing Committee on Procedures yesterday asking it to review the Upper House's dress code after the One Nation leader's controversial decision to wear the Islamic garb to Senate Question Time last month.

Senator Parry also asked for the committee to consider introducing new powers for the Senate President and Deputy President to suspend any member from the chamber for an hour if they breached standing orders.

"From a personal perspective I am disappointed the Senate will be asked to consider implementing rules rather than rely upon the personal discretion and good judgment of all senators,” he told senators yesterday.

In a rebuke to Ms Hanson, he called on all senators to keep the "respect and dignity of the Senate” at the forefront of their minds until the committee made its recommendations.

There is no dress code currently but senators can infringe standing orders through disorderly conduct, persistently obstructing the business of the senate, using "objectionable” words, persistently disregarding the chair or failing to abide by standing orders.

The Senate President can call on senators to apologise, report the infringement to the senate or ask the senate to decide on what action to take against them.

In his speech today, Senator Parry also highlighted that Parliament's security was never threatened by Senator Hanson wearing the full body covering.

"I want it clearly known that at no point was the integrity of the security of Parliament ever placed at risk by Senator Hanson or for that matter of any other person,” he said.

- Claire Bickers

Topics:  burqa dress code islamic garb one nation pauline hanson question time upper house

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