Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has proven prescient yet again following a decision by the Danish government to ban the burka in order to uphold secular and democratic values in that country.
The ABC reports, Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and other European countries in outlawing the burka and the niqab worn by some Muslim women .
The Danish parliament voted yesterday for the ban which labelled the veils "contrary to Danish values".
Opponents say the ban, which takes effect on August 1, infringe on women's rights to dress as they chose.
Under Danish law, police can instruct women to remove their veils or order them to leave public areas and fine them if they refuse.
Fines would range from 1,000 Danish crowns ($207) for a first offence to 10,000 crowns for a fourth violation.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed some restrictions on full-face veils in public places.
As far back as 6 May 2010, more than eight years ago, Senator Bernardi told the Senate that burkas should be banned in Australia, saying:
"In my mind, the burqa has no place in Australian society. I would go as far as to say it is un-Australian. To me, the burqa represents the repressive domination of men over women which has no place in our society and compromises some of the most important aspects of human communication.
It also establishes a different set of rules and societal expectations in our hitherto homogenous society.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
As an avid motorcyclist I am required to remove my helmet before entering a bank or petrol station. It’s a security measure for the businesses and no reasonable person objects to this requirement. However, if I cover myself in a black cloth from head to toe, with only my eyes barely visible behind a mesh guard, I am effectively unidentifiable and can waltz into any bank unchallenged in the name of religious freedom.
Little wonder bank bandits in the UK are now becoming burqa bandits.
The same can be said for any number of areas where photographic identification is required. How many of us would ask for the veil to be dropped so we can compare the photo with the burqa wearer’s face? I suspect the fear of being called bigoted, racist, Islamophobic or insensitive would prevent many from doing what they would not think twice about under normal circumstances.
Put simply, the burqa separates and distances the wearer from the normal interactions with broader society.
But there is a greater reason the burqa needs to be binned.
Equality of women is one of the key values in our secular society and any culture that believes only women should be covered in such a repressive manner is not consistent with the Australian culture and values.
Perhaps some of you will consider that burqa wearing should be a matter of personal choice, consistent with the freedoms our forefathers fought for.
New arrivals to this country should not come here to recreate the living environment they have just left. They should come here for a better life based on the freedoms and values that have built our great nation.
The burqa isolates some Australians from others. Its symbolic barrier is far greater than the measure of cloth it is created from.
For safety and for society, the burqa needs to be banned in Australia.
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