[It] would relegate [burqa]wearers to a glass box usually reserved for parties of schoolchildren. The ban, if it is introduced over the prime minister’s belated objection, would include people with any facial coverings and thus the niqab would also be caught under this ruling.
The two links give details of the unfolding controversy.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked for the decision to be reconsidered, despite his remarks earlier in the week that he finds the burqa “confronting”.
Twitter was ablaze with lots of opposition to and some support for the proposal.
A common response was to see it as a deliberate distraction from government failures:
I doubt if a woman in a burqa has ever entered Parliament House. So why is this non-issue an issue? because it distracts from #libfail
— StopToryTerror (@daveyk317) October 4, 2014
Alex Greenwich drew a scathing contrast with child sexual assault by clergy, an issue currently the subject of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
I've never heard of a Muslim woman in a burqa assaulting anyone in Australia, but plenty of male priests in their robes have assaulted kids
— Alex Greenwich MP (@AlexGreenwich) October 1, 2014
The current controversy should be seen in the context of:
This tweet reflected the tension:
Muslims wearing burqa/hijab remind Ozzies of threat we face from terrorists & that our men & women r risking their lives 2 keep us safe!
— Terese Dau (@teresedau1) October 4, 2014
There has been plenty of humour and satire. The satirical site The Shovel picked up the distraction theme:
The GP co-payment, changes to welfare, and a range of other unpopular budget measures will be concealed beneath a fully-enclosed Islamic garment, specially fabricated by the Government, it was revealed today.
Cartoons were being widely circulated:
— Davo the tyke (@hitinman) October 4, 2014
Not all were against the move behind glass. Helena Sindelar raised another side of the question of rights:
Remarkable all the talk re support burqa/hijab but nothing in support for women in Islamic countries fighting against being forced to cover.
— Helena Sindelar (@Helena_Sindelar) October 4, 2014
Another tweeter responded to a morning television show with her concerns:
@TheTodayShow A person's right to wear a burqa doesn't override a country's right to security. If we can't see your face, we can't trust you
— riekiedplessis (@riekiedplessis) October 2, 2014
Pauline Hanson, a former member of the House of Representatives, has a reputation for divisiveness. Elgar Welch quoted from her article:
'I know not every Muslim is a terrorist but, to the best of my knowledge; every terrorist attack has been by Muslims' http://t.co/31hFYdmuD9
— Elgar Welch (@ewelchau) October 4, 2014
Nevertheless, the majority sentiment online has been to reject the proposed restrictions:
— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) October 2, 2014