Burqa stunt ‘put senators in soap opera’


Pauline Hanson wearing a burqa into the Senate chamber left the rest of the elected representatives there looking like extras in a curious soap opera, a senior Liberal believes.
Cabinet minister Arthur Sinodinos is surprised the One Nation leader was allowed into the chamber wearing the Islamic garb during question time last Thursday.
“That was a prop. We were left almost like extras in some sort of curious soap opera,” he told ABC TV yesterday.
“I don’t think it was appropriate for her to be allowed to use the Senate in that way.”
Senator Hanson has defended her decision to wear the burqa, saying it had sparked a debate about the full-body coverings among the community.
Attorney-General George Brandis, who won plaudits from all sides for his immediate stinging rebuke to the stunt, said Senate president Stephen Parry and the Upper House clerk dealt with the situation as best they could at the time.
But he thought the Senate’s procedures committee which governs chamber dress standards should consider whether it was appropriate for religious garb to be used in that way.
“It was quite a shocking and confronting event when it occurred,” he told Sky News.
At present, there are no formal rules laid down by the Senate about what senators should wear and the mat ter of dress is left up to individual judgment, subject to any ruling by the president.

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