One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson caused audible gasps of shock when she entered the Senate for Question Time today, deciding to wear a burka.
Hanson, (who is not a Muslim and has a long history of campaigning against the influence of Islam in Australia) made a statement saying that she was wearing the burka in an attempt to highlight what she sees as security risks. She said that the burka was oppressive, disadvantaged women and had no place in Western society, calling for it to be banned.
The Attorney- General George Brandis was close to tears while criticising Senator Hanson for her attack on the Islamic faith and undermining relations with the Muslim community. “To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do,” he said. “I would ask you to reflect on that.”
The Attorney General’s comments were met with a rare standing ovation from Labor and the Greens. Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong congratulated Brandis saying, “”It is one thing to wear religious dress as a sincere act of faith, there is another to wear it as a stunt here in the chamber,” she said.
The Federal Government has routinely rejected Hanson’s calls to ban the burka from Government buildings and places where people need to be identified for security purposes.