‘Ban budgie-smugglers , not burqas’, says Sarah Hanson-Young

‘Ban budgie-smugglers , not burqas’, says Sarah Hanson-Young

A South Australian senator’s call for a ban on face-covering burqas has sparked calls for budgie-smugglers to be outlawed.

Outspoken Senator Cory Bernardi has called for the banning of the Islamic covering after an armed robbery in a Sydney car park on Wednesday by a man wearing a burqa and sunglasses.

The head-to-toe covering was emerging as the preferred disguise of bandits and "n’er do wells", the South Australian senator wrote on his blog, adding it also prevented Muslim women from interacting in normal day-to-day life.

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Australian Greens spokeswoman on the status of women Sarah Hanson-Young said Liberal leader Tony Abbott and Mr Bernardi have zero credibility as advocates for women’s rights.

"If people want to start banning items of apparel, perhaps we could start with budgie-smugglers?" Senator Hanson-Young told AAP."I personally find them quite offensive."

Fitness fanatic Mr Abbott is often filmed and photographed running around in his Speedo swimmers.

Mr Abbott and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard today both agreed the Islamic burqa was a "confronting" and "challenging" form of clothing. But neither Ms Gillard nor Mr Abbott said their parties proposed banning the garment worn by some Islamic women.

Mr Abbott defended Mr Bernardi’s right to free speech.

"We believe in free speech in this country and people are entitled to a personal view – even politicians are entitled to a view … we are not a Stalinist party" he said.

"I think a lot of Australians find the wearing of the burqa quite confronting and I wish it was not widely worn."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took a swipe at Mr Abbott because Senator Bernardi was the Opposition Leader’s parliamentary secretary.

"He (Bernardi) goes out there and says that’s what he wants to do," he told Channel 7.

"Mr Abbott then says it’s not their policy … they are walking both sides of the street."

He said no law enforcement agency had recommended to the Government a ban on the burqa.

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