‘What’s the point?’: Fresh push for burqa ban
SENATOR Cory Bernardi has again renewed his push for a burqa ban, calling for the clothing to be forbidden from airports, citizenship ceremonies and Centrelink officers under a controversial plan to be debated in parliament today.
The Australian Conservatives leader also believes the burqa - which entirely covers a woman's face - could be totally banned in the ACT and NT.
The maverick senator, who quit the Liberals last year to establish his own right-wing party, has supported a ban on the Muslim clothing since 2010.
In 2014, Senator Bernardi wanted wearing a burqa banned following anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, describing the head covering as a "shroud of oppression" and a "flag of fundamentalism", adding they are "not right" in Australia.
Four years on, he has continued his push, saying that although he has no issue with head scarfs that cover a woman's hair, a burqa is "a matter of identity security".
"It is a direct challenge to our cultural norms and our societal expectations because Australians expect to see the face of the person they're dealing with and it's the cultural garb of Saudi Arabia and we're not Saudi Arabia," Senator Bernardi told news.com.au
When asked in what way it posed a security risk, Bernardi said: "What's the point of having CCTV and photo ID and biometric security checks of you can't see their face?"
He said if you're at an airport, want a Centrelink payment or swearing allegiance to Australia "you need to show your face".
Despite the government having previously declared that federal Parliament does not have the power to ban the burka, Senator Bernardi believes he has found a loophole in national laws that would allow a limited prohibition in locations "owned" by the Commonwealth.
However, admittedly he said "with the government and the opposition we currently have" support for his ban is "next to zero".
Senator Bernardi will table his bill in parliament today with hopes of it being debated later this year.
The Daily Telegraph reported thatunder his bill, burqas would be banned in six capital city airports - including Sydney's Kingsford Smith - as well as Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, because they are Commonwealth land.
The bill could also see the garment banned across the ACT and Northern Territory, and outlawed in Centrelink offices and at citizenship ceremonies.