17 Aug 2017

Pauline Hanson wears burka in Australian senate

5:52 pm on 17 August 2017

The leader of Australia's One Nation party, Pauline Hanson, has caused controversy by wearing a burka to question time in the Upper House of Parliament.

Pauline Hanson returns to the Australian Senate wearing a burka.

Pauline Hanson returns to the Australian Senate wearing a burka. Photo: Screenshot / Parliament of Australia

Senate officials told the chamber Ms Hanson was identified before she entered.

One senator was heard saying "oh, what on earth" when Ms Hanson walked into the chamber.

"I have been advised by the clerk that the identity of Senator Hanson was established before she entered the chamber," Speaker Stephen Parry said.

"I am just going to reflect on the mode of dress that Senator Hanson is using, but we will continue with question time," he said.

The One Nation leader has been campaigning for the burka to be banned in government buildings and situations where a person needs to be identified.

She has previously been labelled racist after she said Australia was being "swamped by Muslims" and said those unwilling to adapt to "the Australian way of life" should "go back to where you came from".

Senator Derryn Hinch said he asked whether he could appear in fancy dress tomorrow and not be challenged.

Pauline Hanson

Ms Hanson has been labelled racist for her comments about Muslims and immigrants. Photo: AFP

"I'd like a point of order to know if Senator Hanson can stay here unchallenged. I understand she's not a Muslim, not of Islamic faith. Can I appear tomorrow in fancy dress, unchallenged," he asked.

In reply, Mr Parry said he was not going to rule on dress standards in the Australian parliament.

"I believe senators should be making their own decisions about their standard of dress."

Senate photography rules as recent as last year would have prevented media publishing Ms Hanson wearing the burka in the senate.

Labor Party deputy whip Sam Dastyari noted that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had released a report into religious freedom, which listed One Nation as a risk to it.

Attorney General George Brandis said he had not read the report.

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