Australian anti-Islam senator argues for plebiscite on burka ban


An Australian far-right senator, who put on a burka in a stunt in parliament last month, has said  there should be a plebiscite on banning the full-face Islamic coverings in public.

Pauline Hanson, the head of the One Nation party, wore a black veil on the floor of the country's upper house, provoking an angry backlash from politicians, including conservative government ministers.

Last Thursday, during a parliamentary debate, Hanson urged her fellow lawmakers to support her in seeking a ban on full-face Islamic coverings in public and proposing laws to make wearing such garment a punishable offence with a fine of up to 4,200 Australian dollars.

"Are we that pathetic as a nation that we are giving up our values and who we truly are because we're worried about hurting someone's feelings?" Hanson told parliament.

Hanson said the burka had been banned in many countries, including Muslim countries.

She argued that if Australians vote on same-sex marriage, "then I suggest having a plebiscite and let the people have a say on whether they want full-face coverings in this country."

"We have fought for women's rights in this country... yet you're not prepared to stand up and fight for the rights of these women who are probably made to wear these garments," she said.

Hanson, whose party holds four seats in the senate, is known for her anti-Muslim, anti-immigration rants.

Last year, she said Australia was being "swamped by Muslims." 

Some of her earlier proposals include banning the construction of new mosques and Islamic schools as well as installing CCTV in mosques and schools. 

According to census data, about 2.2 percent of Australia's 24 million people are Muslim.    (dpa)

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