Conservative Australian Sen. Pauline Hanson wears a burqa, a traditional Muslim garment, on the floor of the Senate. Colleagues slammed it as a "stunt" that mocked members of the Islamic faith. Screenshot: Australian Broadcasting Corp./UPI
Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A conservative Australian senator was strongly condemned for the "stunt" she performed when she wore a burqa shielding her face and body onto the Senate floor.
Sen. Pauline Hanson, who has sponsored legislation to ban burqas in Australia, entered the chamber with the black veil worn by some Muslim women, then removed it when asked a question by a colleague.
"I'm quite happy to remove this because this is not what should belong in this Parliament," Hanson said, calling on lawmakers to support her legislation.
The display was met with an emotional rebuke by Australian Attorney General George Brandis, who received a rare standing ovation from several of his colleagues in the Senate after admonishing Hanson.
"Senator Hanson, I'm not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in burqa when we all know you are not an adherent to the Islamic faith. I caution you and counsel you Senator Hanson, with respect, to be very, very careful of the offense you may give to the religious sensibilities of other Australians," Brandis said.
His voice breaking, Brandis continued: "It is vital for [Australian] intelligence and law enforcement work that they work cooperatively with the Muslim community.
"To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do."