'Repulsive, oppressive but not illegal': Fiery debate as it's revealed most Aussies want to ban the burqa

A survey has revealed over half of Australians support or strongly support Pauline Hanson's call to ban a burqa, sparking fierce debate over the issue.

 

A poll of nearly 3000 Australians asked whether the burqa should be banned in public places with 44 per cent stronly supporting a ban, a further 13 per cent supporting it, while 31 per cent are against or strongly against a ban.

Senator Pauline Hanson made national headlines when she controversially wore a burqa in parliament. Source: AAP

On Sunrise on Friday morning, Herald Sun columnist Susie O'Brien said she finds the "burqa confronting, oppressive, and offensive" but said "it shouldn't be banned".

"Demonising Muslim women, the small group of Muslim women who wear this, it is more oppressive," she said.

"They don't have to wear this garment and, whether it is religious or cultural, it's freedom of expression and that is legal and legitimate in this country.

"I find it repulsive and oppressive but it's not illegal and in these debates, we demonise innocent groups of women who do nothing wrong but wear a garment that we don't understand.

"They have become a symbol of a religion that we don't understand and it's not a reason to ban the burqa.

"These Muslim women are not to blame for the state of terrorism in this country."

The survey found over half of participants would support a ban of the burqa.

Senator Hanson is using the results of the survey to call for the question of 'Should Australia ban the burqa?' to be added to the same-sex marriage postal vote.

However, security agencies have warned a burqa ban could fuel propaganda and increase the risk of a terrorist attack.

Chris Smith from Radio 2GB and 4BC said Senator Hanson has got what she wants so far and has the public talking about it.

Chris Smith said we shouldn't ban the burqa.

"We have a parliamentary committee thinking about uniforms in Parliament and now the support is coming through in a poll," he said.

"I admire her guts, optimism, but it won't happen because we have a bunch of politicians who think the burqa is somehow directly connected to the Islamic religion and it is not, it is cultural.

"Having said that, I hate the burqa but I also hate banning what you wear so I don't think it's appropriate and we should not be banning what people wear.

"I don’t think a ban is appropriate in this country - we shouldn’t be banning what people wear, but it's misogynistic, primitive, and not in keeping with the openness of this country and the fact we call strangers mate."

Mr Smith added that some people who wear it don't want to.

Susie O'Brien agreed with Mr Smith.

"Some prefer to wear it but, talking to others, they do not, you can hear it in their voice," he said.

"Some are forced to wear it because it is expected of them from misogynistic husbands. Is not religious, it's a cultural blowback from primitive years."

Ms O'Brien hit back at the comment, telling Mr Smith: 'You are being primitive by saying it should be banned."

Mr Smith shot back, telling Ms O'Brien that he was not calling for a burqa ban. She replied: "Other people are saying that. That is more primitive than the garment itself."

The survey revealed 12 per cent of people were undecided on the topic.

Meanwhile, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari told a book launch last night that Pauline Hanson is close-minded when it comes to this issue.

The burqa is banned in some European countries such as France and Italy.

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