Thursday, 13 September 2018
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that the wearing of full-face coverings, such as burqas and niqabs, has no place in a modern western society; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to move immediately to ban any form of full-face covering, such as balaclavas, full-face helmets, burqas and niqabs, in places where identification is necessary and security is an issue.
All Australians are free to choose their religion and are entitled to express and practice their religion and their beliefs without intimidation and without interference as long as those practices are within the framework of Australian law. This includes the freedom of people to express their religion through choice of clothing. The government will not be banning the burqa or any other form of religious dress in Australia, as it would be inconsistent with our principles and traditions of religious freedom and tolerance.
The government made a comment about people's choice to wear a religious garment of their choice. That has nothing to do with this motion. Wearing a full-face-covering item, a burqa or a niqab, is not a religious requirement; it is actually a choice of dress. The motion moves the fact that this is actually for security reasons. Religion does not come into this.
Senator Hanson should hang her head in shame. She's just a disgrace. She's an absolute disgrace. Today it's Muslims, yesterday it was a nine-year-old schoolkid who she wanted expelled because they didn't stand up to sing the national anthem, on another day it's Asians, on another day it's Indigenous people—
Firstly, I've made the point—and it has been discussed numerous times at the Procedure Committee and is continuing to be discussed—that this particular section of Senate business is not ideal for complex matters and is not for debate. The growth in one-minute statements—by leave, I hasten to add—where any senator can deny that opportunity, is a courtesy granted by senators to allow people to explain a position of themselves or their party. Senator Di Natale, when I call someone to order, I expect them to heed that. I also counsel senators to be very careful of unparliamentary language and imputations and reflections upon other senators, because some of that language may well be appropriate outside the chamber but is not appropriate inside the chamber. I call you to continue, Senator Di Natale.