Hanson's burqa stunt put senators 'in some sort of curious soap opera'

One Nation Leader Senator Pauline Hanson wears an Islamic veil in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra on August 17, 2017. Source: AAP

Cabinet minister Arthur Sinodinos says it wasn't right Pauline Hanson was allowed to use the Senate for a political stunt by wearing a burqa.

Pauline Hanson wearing a burqa in the Senate chamber left the rest of the elected representatives looking like extras in a curious soap opera, a senior Liberal believes.

Cabinet minister Arthur Sinodinos is surprised the One Nation leader was allowed into the chamber wearing the Islamic garb during question time last Thursday.

"That was a prop. We were left almost like extras in some sort of curious soap opera," he told ABC TV on Sunday.

"I don't think it was appropriate for her to be allowed to use the Senate in that way."

Senator Hanson has defended her decision to wear the burqa, saying it's sparked a debate about the full-body coverings among the community.

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Attorney-General George Brandis, who won plaudits from all sides for his immediate stinging rebuke to the stunt, said Senate President Stephen Parry and the upper house clerk dealt with the situation as best they could at the time.

But he thinks the Senate's procedures committee - which governs chamber dress standards - should consider whether it's appropriate for religious garb to be used in that way.

"It was quite a shocking and confronting event when it occurred," he told Sky News.

At present, there are no formal rules laid down by the Senate about what senators should wear and the matter of dress is left up to individual judgement, subject to any ruling by the president.

Source AAP


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