Pauline Hanson Is Wearing A Burqa In The Senate [Update: It's Off]

Image: Twitter (ABC PoliPics)

Right now, the Senate is busy trying to work out whether Pauline Hanson is allowed to wear a burqa in the Federal Senate.

Here's a full shot from Fairfax and the ABC:

In a post on Facebook and through a media release, Senator Hanson argued that "she made the decision to attend question time" in full face covering to "raise the issue of full face covering presenting a security threat not only to Parliament House, but also to the greater Australian public".

Welcome to Canberra today.

Update: Senator Hanson has since removed the burqa.

The federal Attorney General, George Brandis, responded afterwards by carpeting Senator Hanson for mocking the Australian Islamic community, resulting in a standing ovation from the Greens and Labor - but not Brandis's Liberal colleagues, curiously.



    I don't like Hansen in general and a lot (most of) her policies are bad, but this is one point I sorta agree with. I know Turnbull got raked across the coals for his comments about burqas a year or so ago but it's worth considering when it comes to certain locations. We're already forced to take off motorcycle helmets when entering a bank (for example) is this any different?

    Yes, I know even thinking such a thing is going to be jumped on by the PC crowd but gotta say it.

      I think having an open discussion is always healthy, pulling a stunt like this is an embarrassment.

      Security isn't the reason. To my knowledge no one has ever robbed a bank and used a burqa to hide their faces.
      Come up with a better excuse to ban them.

        I don't necessarily think they should be banned, but I do think that they should be subject to the same laws as other face coverings. Like the motorcycle helmet-bank scenario and on drivers license photos and similar. If it's valid reason to remove a helmet it's a valid reason to remove any other headwear, burqa/niqab/etc included.

        I do think we're going a bit overboard with security but it does make a good way to hide your face for "nefarious reasons". Doesn't have to be terrorism it could just be fraud - go to the bank and withdraw money from someone else's account for example.

          I agree. "Ban the burqa" should not be a topic for debate. However, burqa's should be classed as face coverings same as motorcycle helmets, and all subject to the same laws.

          Fair call!

          But something that has always interested me on the subject was this:
          The banks aren't calling for the Burka to be treated like a helmet or other face cover from what I've seen.
          Banks did call for, supported and lobbied for increased security laws around helmets etc though.

          From what I understand many of the banks have a strong presence in countries where religion dictates clothing.
          My point being they already have experience in dealing with matters of this nature, hence why they haven't pursued the issue.
          I actually think a few banks have said they already have no problem with assertaining identity.
          (Many religions including some branches of Islam already accept showing of the face to prove identity when ID's and Passports are involved, Police checks, airports, buying of age restricted products, banks etc)

          I dunno, I agree that if the need arises, it should be treated like a helmet.
          But right now it's people calling for something that isn't really affecting them yet, with rhetoric from external forces and special interest groups bogging it down.
          Perhaps when the establishments who actually deal with the identification process make a call?

            I can understand your point of view. But I look at the flip side, if the bank is happy allowing a person to wear a burqa then they should also remove the no helmet rule.

            I'd also rather the govt made a ruling on the matter (they appear to have) rather than rely on varying opinions from different companies. At least that way everyone is on the same page.

            I did think after seeing the extended version of Hansen's escapades that it was a poor stunt. But also that Brandis didn't handle it well either. His response regarding a full ban was fine but just a flat "no" to the question about wearing it in secure locations seemed like an offhand dismissal. I thought that could (should) have been given more consideration.

              I do see what your saying, but I admit I struggle to make the link between the two when considering the context.

              The affected party made calls for laws surrounding non mandatory face covering due to their experiences.
              On the opposing you have unaffected parties, calling for parity between two different items for two different reasons.
              For helmets, the affected parties have the result they want.
              For Burkas, the affected parties have the results they want.

              In truth, parity is already present.
              A Muslim in a burka wearing a helmet will be asked to remove the helmet and also prove identity when required.
              If a bike rider wanted to wear a burka they would be subject to the same.

              It's why I don't buy the helmet angle, from most, it often seems more like a convenient way of arguing equal treatment to achieve two very different results.

              As for Lobbying, it's the corner stone of politics, I don't like it either but money from special interests are what these people ultimately represent and have done so for a very long time.
              It's crap.

        A scientific secular society should not have to put up with irrational superstitious beliefs, and their dress code. It's long past the time that we should be pandering to religious beliefs.

        I'm happy to see all religious garb banned in public, including nuns habits and priestly robes.
        If they want to wear these things in church, or in the privacy of their homes, then they may do so.

          People should be free to wear whatever they like in public. I might one day want to dress up like a bunny rabbit, there shouldn't be a law stopping me. But anywhere where security is an issue I fully agree there should never be any special treatment, especially when it comes to religion.

            With some restrictions I'd agree. As long as you don't breach public decency laws then sure. So bunny rabbit is fine, slutty rabbit not :P

          Since when does a secular society tell people what they can and can't wear? People should be able to wear whatever they like, including clothes that signify their religious beliefs.

          I'm in favour of requiring head coverings to be removing in areas where safety and security requires it (airports, banks etc) but banning certain clothing in public is dangerously close to fascism.

          Yeah but that really isn't what's on the table here.

          And who's pandering to who's beliefs anyway? I'm not being forced to wear anything and I'm free to wear what ever I want.

        Here's a better excuse. No where in the Koran does it say that women should wear a burqa. It says scarves and the tail parts should be used for covering over the bosom for modesty. It was the extremist muslim factions that forced their women to wear them. Is that good enough reason.

          No, it really isn't. The Koran doesn't allow mobile phones, either.

          Modesty is a cultural and temporal construct, and women should be allowed to choose culturally appropriate ways to express their faith (security concerns are another matter, but if banks and airports in the Middle East have ways to deal with these things, I'm sure we can look to their example). Even if we may find face coverings troubling, a woman gets to choose what she wears. Her religion, and the way her community expresses that faith has to be her choice, or we are just exchanging one potential form of oppression for another. Islam doesn't have a central authority; the Koran is interpreted by Imams at the local level, which is why there are so many variants on cultural practices.

          There are separate discussions to be had on the uses of religious texts by patriarchal elements to oppress and confine women, and on whether modesty as a value is something that all Muslims, not just women, are exhorted to practice. Then there's the problem of to what extent the wearing of religious garb is really a free choice for an individual woman, given that a woman who chose not to wear religious garb might be confined, subjected to violence, or at risk of losing her education, or her family, or her social network.

            The Koran doesn't allow mobile phones, either.

            I sincerely doubt that.

              That's the beauty of a 1000 year old set of rules mobiles weren't around so there is nothing about them, but someone can take some obscure phrasing and twist it to imply that mobile phones are evil. Same goes for practically anything you don't like, find a phrase in a religious text that sounds vaguely relevant and use it as justification.

              Note: this applies to all religions.

      Hanson is not asking for them to be removed in situations such as the one you suggested. She wants its banned full stop due to here idiotic xenophobic beliefs. Before it was asians, Now its muslims. Anything to get a vote.

      As Eddard Stark said "everything that is said before BUT is bullshit"

        You're saying I do like Hansen and support the majority of her policies? Well you'd be wrong. There's no way in hell I'd vote for her (or One Nation). That doesn't mean that 100% of what she says is wrong though.

        I can't think of any politician where I'd agree with 100% of what they said. It just doesn't happen and nor should it.

          True, but populism is usually always about using a little bit of reason to do other crappy things.

          Just look at what they've done in the name of security already.

          Sorry I'm being a little mischievous there, I do like that phrase :-)
          As a man of science I have to ask, what is the evidence here? Are we seeing a lot of crime being committed by women in Burkas. Are there any stats!? [Not anecdotal evidence]
          The Police have had the power to ask women to remove face veils during the investigation of serious offenses and they get to decide what "serious" is.
          Women in Burkas are really low on my list of people to be afraid of but I do appreciate that people who read the Herald Sun may be scared shitless of them.
          As a biker it annoys me having to take my helmet off but I know this has been a problem in the past.

            seeing a lot of crime being committed by women in Burkas

            Does it have to be a woman? Throw a burqa on and it could be anyone. Commit fraud/theft wearing a burqa and there might be an assumption that it's a woman committing it. That makes it an even better excuse for a man to wear it as a costume since they could be overlooked entirely as a suspect.

            But in response to your question, I don't know. I haven't done research on either scenario to say just how many crimes were committed in either situation. When it comes to the police being allowed to ask a person to remove face veils, it's too late. There is no face being recorded on camera or being seen by an eye witness so how do you get strong evidence for a conviction (same reason helmets were considered a problem)?

    That was to do with the airlines rule on visible jewellery, not security. She had the option to wear it under her top but didn't want to. Took the airline to court and lost there as well.

    I manage a retail store and 3 times in 6 months a woman in a burqa and a pram stole quite a lot.. But I guess then you have to ban prams too :-/

      Examine them sure. I've heard of lots of stories about people stealing stuff and hiding it in prams. One thing about that though, look at the combination. If you have a person with a pram steal something you may get their face on security footage so you can do something. If the face is hidden you're stuffed. How do you get a conviction when it could be (almost) anyone?

        As per my comment above, it wasn't known to us at the time, but the person behind the 'mask' was a career thief in our business. Her answer was once you get recognised, make yourself recognisable.

    I think anywhere that ID is required to be checked eg. Road Transit/Banks/Government buildings a burqa should be removed. How can you verify a persons ID without actually seeing the face? Apart from them they are free to do what they like as far as im concerned.

      Maybe it's our ID system that needs to be overhauled though. You could still use biometrics like fingerprints & iris scanning for example

        Except that becomes intrusive and annoying, not to mention reliant on technology.

        I know I also lost fingerprints a couple times. Burned the crap out of my fingers one time and ground them off another. Accidentally of course.

          Doesn't have to be that intrusive or inconvenient, a platform like Google, Apple & Microsoft have authorise a user with their phone, then enable fingerprint ID on the device only (fingerprints, etc. don't leave the device). The phone authorises the user and sends an 'is authorised' message to whatever service.

          BUT this type of identification could be opt-in and just for people who don't want to / can't use a photo ID.

      Women wearing a burqa shouldn't be out in public, whether shopping, hanging out or anything else. If they are so devoted to their religion then they should be staying at home, being invisible to all except those who visit their homes. Islamic tradition makes it quite clear that Muhammad's wives and the wives of his companions, bar a few instances, had very little public presence. We don't read that these wives went shopping in the market or were engaged in any form of work beyond house chores. Rather than forcing the banning of the burqa, governments should be forcing the burqa-wearers to follow the complete burqa ethos of total seclusion from the world then, perhaps, even less will wear it.

      They do require the removal of the garb to prove ID where required.
      Not the removal of the garb where an ID is required, if that makes sense.

      In other words in court, airports, banks, police checks etc, they already ask that the face covering is removed during the act of proving identification with documentation and the like.

      I'm pretty sure some of these laws have been in effect for quite some time.

    Any chance we can get her to wear it permanently?

    So, in order to get eyeballs on her bill to ban the burqa, she ... goes out and buys a burqa and publicly wears it? In what universe does that work?

    It didn't stop her from doing her job, or expressing her (ghastly) views. All it did was made her look like a senator in a burqa. Oooh, scary! lady in religious clothing doing exactly what she would have done anyhow. Rather an own-goal, if you ask me.

      I dunno. It's emphasizing a point. Though I lolled at kikadik's comment about getting her to wear it permanently I think parliament would be freaked out if random members turned up in a burqa. Imagine being a pollie and having a big night, don't feel like sitting in the senate - get your assistant to throw on a burqa and go in your place while you sleep it off.

      Actually, scratch that, I could see a lot of senators thinking that was a great idea.

        She could have made a better point if she did just that and put her secretary in her place. That would have been more of a shock.

          I suspect the secretary would have had to remove their face covering for a security check before entering the room. The jig would be up pretty quick.

          Though this does make me wonder about parliament's security practices. What happens if an identical twin gets elected? Could they send their twin in their place if they didn't feel like going?

          What if they both get elected? Could they switch portfolios on different days? What if they are members of opposing parties? Or they are elected to different houses?

        I mean, if she'd pulled out a fake Kalashnikov, or if she'd actually sent someone in her place to emphasise the problems of establishing identity in security situations, then maybe she'd have made a point. But this?

        All she's achieved is made a lot of people feel awkward about the fact that they have to agree with George Brandis. Totes awk-balls.

          It would have been interesting, Senator Hanson would have been spear tackled if she brandished a weapon.

          Extra bonus points if her assistant does it and is a dude.

          I wouldn't take the AK step since that's maybe a step too far. But yeah having someone else rock up would have been perfect.

            True. Maybe a super-soaker or a nerf gun? Super-soakers in Parliament would be a novel way of breaking deadlocks.


          I was going to comment that the world has obviously gone coo coo banana pants when the voice of reason is George Freaking Brandis, I mean come on people wtf!

    I went to sleep and when I woke our parliament has a complete tool pulling a stunt and the American president is a nazi.

    Tomorrow should be interesting.

      I dont believe he condemned the man who drove through the crowd enough as it is a cowardly act of violence. Now somehow you have link that to him being a nazi. The term nazi gets thrown around far to much.

      The more people use terms like nazi, racsist, bigot the less these terms are going to have real effect on shaming the actual nazis, rascist and bigots who actually really deserve to be called that.

        Well when you happen to say that some of the people attending a white supremacist, kkk, nazi rally were "very fine people" makes you a freaking Nazi in my books. but if you prefer I can call him a white supremacist

          I'd prefer you call him a Nazi simpathiser but a Nazi thats a bit of a stretch isnt it, sounds like you read far to much Like i have already said people throw the term Nazi around far to much. It used to be one of the worst things you could call someone now its just a throw away line to imply someone is the worst thing ever.

            He used to keep a book of Hitler's speeches by his bed (surprised me as well I didn't think he would actually read a book), He has a history of racism and now he's saying that there are plenty of fine people attending the nazi rally.

            So yeah Nazi

      Godwin's law at work.

        For those to lazy to wiki
        Godwins law - as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1."[2][3]‍—‌that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or his deeds.

    I've seen muslim women driving cars while they're wearing the full burqa. How the hell is that illegal when 50 percent of their vision is blinded by the veil. Oh and the koran doesn't state that women should wear the burqa. That was brought in by the extremists.

    I think we have missed the point, it's not a security thing !
    A female child born into a family with these burka beliefs has to wear one.
    She does not have a choice!
    When civil rights are removed that is wrong.
    To remove the burka by her choice she would have to abandon her family and go into hiding
    Ban the burka, give these woman , little girls a choice

    It would be nice, if everyone discuss burka without religion references.
    Then, it is easy to see that you have to ban it, only in places were facial identification is necessary. After all, we are not banning motorcycle helmets in public, but in banks etc..

    Hmm she removes the Burka.. It's like that moment in the movies where the super villian reveals who they are but it's more disappoint and a lot more racist

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