'Ban the damn thing': Debate rages as Nationals move to ban burqa, niqab

The Nationals will move to ban the burqa and niqab in all public places when the party holds its federal confernence on Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has given National Party MPs the green light to vote on the motion at the conference.

It comes after Senator Pauline Hanson triggered more debate on the issue last month with a burqa stunt in parliament.

North Queensland MP George Christensen has told News Corp, the cultural garments covering the face are a security issue and not conducive to the Australian way of life.

“The sensible thing to do is to ban the burqa and niqab in public buildings and spaces, leaving some exemptions for religious places of worship,” he said.

Nationals MP George Christensen plans to call for the niqab to be banned in all public places.
The Deputy PM has given the National Party the green light for a motion on banning the burqa. File pic. Source: AAP

Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage asked whether the move would put enough pressure on the government to see the burqa banned.

Radio 2GB presenter Alan Jones renewed his calls to ban the garment saying it was the “subjugation of women”.

“Honestly, it's not part of Islamic dress - the niqab and the burqa,” Mr Jones said.

“Apart from all the security reasons that we know about, we don't even know who's underneath the damn thing, and we don't know what they're carrying, why they're underneath it.”

Mr Jones said George Christensen was “talking sense” but believed some people were frightened to go against “the Muslim vote”.

“Get on with it,” he said.

“Ban the damn thing as they've done in many countries around the world.”

Ms Armytage pointed out the Deputy PM and the Nationals were appearing to act against Attorney-General George Brandis’ emotional response to Pauline Hanson wearing the burqa.

The panel couldn't agree on whether there was enough justification to see the garment banned. Source: Sunrise

“I am not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in a burqa, when we all know that you are not an adherent of the Islamic faith,” he told the One Nation leader in parliament last month.

Burqa debate 'just a distraction'

Radio 3AW presenter Justin Smith said he didn’t agree with Mr Jones and questioned if the debate surrounding the burqa is a "distraction".

“I don’t know what people think is going to happen if we do ban the burqa. Do we just simply bring Muslim people to heel? Is that what the plan is?” Mr Smith said.

“Come on, where do you come from?” Mr Jones asked.

“I’m from the country,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Jones said Mr Christensen’s push was to also have the balaclava banned because “we need to see people”.

“The burqa, an Islamic priest said the burqa is not part of religious dress,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Smith said people wearing burqas should be asked.

Radio 3AW's Justin Smith said there hadn't been any concerns from people working in security over the burqa. File pic. Source: AAP

“But if we have security people telling us that it's a big problem, if we have hordes of people in burqas going around robbing banks or being a security threat, and we're told by the security services that we need to do something about it, that's fine,” he said.

“But that's not actually what we're getting.”

Mr Smith said polls were showing about 56 per cent of people were against banning the burqa “roughly the same number of people keen on getting the death penalty back”.

“I'm just shaking my head, Justin,” Mr Jones said.

“But anyway, there we are.”

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