An Australian senator wore a burka into the chamber as she argued for it to be banned
The leader of Australia’s right-wing One Nation party has been strongly rebuked by her senate colleagues after she wore a burka into the chamber.
Pauline Hanson is not a Muslim. In fact, her party has been described in the media as anti-Muslim and anti-immigration.
As Hanson entered the chamber mid-debate, Liberal senator Jonathan Duniam could be heard saying: “What on earth?”
When the time for her question came, Hanson removed the black clothing, saying: “I’m quite happy to remove this, because this is not what should belong in this parliament,” before calling on Malcolm Turnbull’s government to ban the full face covering.
Liberal Attorney-General George Brandis, representing the government in the senate, sharply rebuked her “stunt” saying: “Senator Hanson, no, we will not be banning the burka.
“Now, Senator Hanson, I am not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in a burka when we all know that you are not an adherent of the Islamic faith.
“I would caution you and counsel you, Senator Hanson, with respect, to be very, very careful of the offence you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians. We have about half a million Australians in this country of the Islamic faith, and the vast majority of them are law-abiding, good Australians.”
His words received applause from most senators in the chamber, with many rising to their feet in support of his statement.
Sam Dastyari, an opposition senator and an Iranian-born Muslim, said: “We have seen the stunt of all stunts in this chamber by Senator Hanson.
When questioned on whether this type of dress, particularly when the wearer is not an adherent to the religion concerned, was acceptable, Senate president Stephen Parry said he would not dictate dress standards in the chamber, but did say Hanson’s identity had been verified before she entered.
After the incident, senators took to Twitter to share their dismay at Hanson’s actions.