Australian Parliament allows burqa wearers in glass enclosures

Australia's Parliament today announced new rules for visitors wearing the burqa who would now be seated in glass enclosures to view proceedings.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 02, 2014, 11:33 AM IST

Melbourne: Australia's Parliament today announced new rules for visitors wearing the burqa who would now be seated in glass enclosures to view proceedings.

The latest announcement has come soon after the debate to ban the burqa heated up when Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday remarked that he found the Muslim veil for women as confronting and wished it was not worn in Australia.

According to Department of Parliamentary Services, a decision was made on burqa restrictions during a review of security policies at the seat of government.

DPS said, "People with facial coverings who want to watch the House of Representatives or Senate chambers will be seated in the enclosed galleries".

"This will ensure that persons with facial coverings can continue to enter the chamber galleries without needing to be identifiable," the department stated.

Media reports said that a full review of Parliament House's pass policy was being undertaken.

Parliament Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry approved the new rules after a request from Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to ban the religious headwear from being worn in the building.

Bernardi believes the burqa is a symbol of oppression and un-Australian but wants it banned from parliament on security grounds.