Ms. Hanson said in a statement that she wore the burqa because she thought that banning full-face coverings in public “was an important issue facing modern Australia that needed to be discussed.” Such coverings, she said, were “oppressive, presented barriers to assimilation, disadvantaged women from finding employment” and “had no place in modern Western society.”
Ms. Hanson’s actions drew strong criticism in the Senate. Attorney General George Brandis, a member of the conservative Liberal Party, denounced the move in an emotional speech in which his voice broke. He said that Australia would not ban burqas.
“To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do, and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done,” he said, referring to Muslims.
His response elicited a standing ovation from one side of the floor.
“I would caution and counsel you with respect to be very, very careful of the offense you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians,” he said.
Mr. Brandis said that about half a million people practice Islam in Australia, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding “good Australians.”
Ms. Hanson used her speech on Thursday to address terrorism. She said that the police had uncovered 13 significant threats since Australia raised its terrorist threat level to probable in 2014, calling terrorism “a true threat to our country” and saying that “many Australians are very much in fear of it.”
Clive Bean, a political-science professor at Queensland University of Technology, said he “was not aware of a stunt quite like this happening in Parliament before.”
He said that he was surprised that the president of the Senate, Stephen Parry, let it occur. “The danger of such a strong stunt as that is that it has the opposite of the desired effect,” he said. “The fallout is stronger against than in favor.”
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