Peter Wellington backs Hanson burqa crackdown

18th January 2017 8:00 AM

SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Wellington has backed a plan by One Nation to ban the burqa from government buildings, banks and schools.

Mr Wellington, the independent MP for the Nambour-based seat of Nicklin, tried to have a similar bill introduced in 2014.

The former policeman and councillor argues that everyone needs to have their face identifiable when in public places.

Back in 2014, Mr Wellington stressed his bill was not targeted at any particular group and distanced the move from controversial French legislation aimed at preventing the wearing of burqas.

"It could apply to a person wearing a Darth Vader mask, or whatever people wear that covers their faces," Mr Welllington said of his proposed amendment to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and four other Acts.

Should burqas be banned in government buildings, banks and schools.

This poll ended on 25 January 2017.

Current Results

Yes.

25%

No.

13%

People should have to show their face on request from officials but it should not be banned.

60%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

It would provide that, in circumstances where a police officer, corrective services or similar officer, or a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations needs to identify a person they can lawfully demand that the person remove any face coverings so the face can be seen.

Sunshine Coast MP Peter Wellington
Sunshine Coast MP Peter Wellington Cade Mooney

Mr Wellington said the bill was drafted as a response to the 2011 case of burqa-wearing Sydney woman, Carnita Matthews, who had a charge of making a false statement dismissed because there was no proof it had been her inside the burqa.

He said it was not directed against the wearing of burqas generally.

"I believe people should reveal their face to persons in the legal system that need to know who they are."

The Bill defines "face" as from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and between, but not including, the ears.

"Most Muslim women, Sikh men wearing turbans and Catholic nuns already display this much of themselves to the world, Mr Wellington said at the time.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said she would move to prohibit burqas in specific areas if she wins the upcoming Queensland state election.

"I would support Pauline Hanson's proposal," the Speaker told ABC radio.

"Of course the devil is in the detail. But I think in 2017, people if they're going out in public, need to have their face identifiable.

"We need to be able to continue to walk down the street without fear of intimidation, without having to look over our shoulders, and look at people who have their whole face covered."