Australian anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson caused a furore Thursday when she entered the Senate wearing a full burqa, earning a blistering rebuke from the country’s top lawyer for the “appalling” stunt. Hanson wore the Islamic garment in the chamber to highlight what she said were the security issues it posed, linking it to terrorism as fellow senators heckled her. “Will you work to ban the burqa in Australia in light of what is happening with national security?” she said after whipping off the garment to question Attorney-General George Brandis.
She added: “Terrorism is a true threat to our country, many Australians are in fear of it.” Brandis said his conservative government had no such plans, warning Hanson she risked offending the Muslim community by wearing a burqa when she was not a follower of Islam. “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,” he said. Brandis, his voice cracking with emotion, also said that being a strict adherent Muslim, such as those who wear the burqa, was “absolutely consistent” with being a law-abiding citizen. “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,” he said.
Brandis’ remarks prompted a standing ovation from his political opponents in the Labor and Greens parties. Independent senator Derryn Hinch labelled Hanson’s conduct “disgusting”. “Pauline Hanson mocked the religion of some Australians … she made a mockery of an honourable place (the Senate),” he told Sky News. (AFP)