MP promotes burqa ban

July 2, 2010

South Australian independent Bob Such announced on June 28 he would introduce a private member's bill into the state parliament that would, in effect, ban the wearing of the burqa or the niqab in banks and government buildings.

Such claimed his bill would not be discriminatory and would target any face covering where security might be a concern. However, all his public statements have specifically raised the burqa and its possible use in criminal activity.

Multicultural affairs minister Grace Portolesi said SA police have said they have no such concerns about the burqa.

The SA government has said that banning the burqa would be "heavy handed" and unnecessary. Opposition police spokesperson David Ridgeway said the Liberal Party would wait until the bill was tabled before declaring their position on the ban.

This ban has not gained any outright support from any parliamentary forces, but the far right have enthusiastically endorsed Such's proposal, and Islamophobic blogs have lauded it.

In 2008, Such attacked women's right to choose what they wear during a parliamentary debate on rape law reform. He declared there was no justification for sexual assault, but also inferred that women wearing "provocative" T-shirts encouraged sexual assault by encouraging men to disrespect them.


The most basic argument against the burqa (and niqab) is a sociological one. In Western countries the face is an essential part of one's identity and social interaction. We all rely on the face as an expression of who you are and the emotions you feel. In many ways, you are your face; without it, you are a figure without identity. People with covered faces become in a sense invisible. In particular, one's eyes and mouth can convey a lot in conversation. What a loss to us all if smiling and laughing should no longer be visible. So I have no problems with the hijab, but the niqab and burqa are blatantly antisocial and therefore unacceptable. This would be just as true for males should they advocate wearing a full face covering in public.

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