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Burqa laws touted for WA
Burqa laws touted for WA

Muslim women who wear a burqa or niqab would be forced to lift the veil to prove their identity while having legal statements witnessed under new laws set to be introduced in WA.

The move would follow the lead of NSW, which announced laws at the weekend to "burqa-proof" identity checks.

NSW will introduce the reform next month after a public outcry over the quashing of a Muslim woman's sentence for knowingly making a false statement.

The woman, accused of lying about a police officer trying to remove her burqa, was acquitted on appeal after the prosecution could not prove she was the woman who signed the statement while wearing the garment.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said he would discuss the laws with NSW counterpart Greg Smith at the ministerial meeting of attorneys-general next month.

"If it fixes a problem with minimum fuss I could not see why similar laws would not be suitable in WA," Mr Porter said.

The move was also backed by Women's Interests Minister Robyn McSweeney, who is also a justice of the peace.

Changes to the law would have bipartisan support, with Opposition Leader Mark McGowan agreeing that WA should emulate NSW.

"It's just practical, and while some people might be offended or upset I think to ensure that our legal processes are valid and verifiable you would need to do that," he said.

Under the NSW laws, authorised witnesses such as JPs and lawyers must see a person's face before signing legal documents.

Muslim woman Tasnim, who was asked by a judge to remove her niqab - similar to a burqa - before she could give evidence in a Perth District Court case in 2010, said she did not believe it was culturally insensitive and said such checks already occurred at customs.

"We travel often overseas and whenever I go it just takes two seconds," Tasnim, who did not wish to give her surname, said.

"Customs officials look at my passport and say, 'Can I have a look at your face', I just pick up my veil and they say, 'Thank you very much' and it's done."

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel supported any moves to assist law enforcement. But he said checks should be made with the "utmost sensitivity", for example having female officials to take statements.