Right wing One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who fears that Australia is becoming too Islamic, entered the Senate yesterday wearing a burqa.
Hanson explained that the point of the stunt, which stunned fellow senators:
Was to say that I do not believe that at any point in time ever in the future that any full face coverings should ever be worn in this place.
According to this report, there were audible groans as she walked into the Senate and one person was heard saying “What on earth?”
Hanson removed the burqa a few minutes later as she attempted to ask the Attorney-General a question on banning the garment altogether.
The Liberal AG Senator Brandis’ passionate response to Hanson earned a standing ovation from Labor and Greens senators. He said:
You are not an adherent of the Islamic faith. I would caution you and counsel you. Be very, very careful of the offence you may give. We have about 500,000 Australians in this country of the Islamic faith. And the vast majority of them are law abiding good Australians.
Brandis added that it was vital to work with the Muslim community to combat the threat of radicalisation.
To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done.
Hanson took issue with the “religious garment” reference:
The fact is wearing a burqa is not a religious requirement. Non Islamic countries like Switzerland, Norway, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, China and Russia have also banned full face coverings. Again, lawmakers believe a ban improves public safety and enables social cohesion.
How can you justify the banning of a helmet or balaclavas but not a burqa when entering a bank?
If we do not draw a line in the sand against immigration from Islamic countries, the influence of Muslims in this country will continue to grow and Australia will continue down the path of Islamisation.
Labor Senator Doug Cameron opposed Hanson’s the motion and condemned her stunt. It was, he said:
A contribution underpinned by racism, a contribution underpinned by religious intolerance and a contribution from my point of view underpinned by just plain stupidity.
Senator Nick Xenophon has applauded the Attorney General’s response to Pauline Hanson’s burqa stunt and says it was offensive and demeaning to people of the Islamic faith.
I know a thing or two about stunts but I wouldn’t even call this a stunt, this was just toxic.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten described it as:
A political circus stunt. I do not believe, no matter what anyone thinks, that pulling those sorts of antics in parliament does anything other than trivialise parliament and democracy.
And NSW Muslim MP Jihad Dib tweeted:
This isn’t a stunt. It’s deeply offensive, calculated and divisive.
Not many agreed with his tweet.