MP Peter Wellington is pushing for new legislation that would force women to remove burqas in some situations.
MP Peter Wellington is pushing for new legislation that would force women to remove burqas in some situations.

Bleijie digs in over MP's push for new laws to limit burqas

ATTORNEY-General Jarrod Bleijie has accused independent MP Peter Wellington of political grandstanding in his renewed push to give authorities the powers to force Muslim women to remove burqas and veils.

The Kawana MP said he would not be "held to ransom" on the issue after Mr Wellington yesterday gave the government until parliament resumes in August to put forward suitable legislation.

Mr Wellington warned he would reintroduce a private members bill he drafted in 2011 which would allow police, the courts and security industry powers to compel women to remove their burqas for identity checks.

Mr Wellington reignited the burqa debate just days after a Brisbane magistrate expressed concerns about sentencing a woman who was wearing a veil that left only her eyes visible.

Mr Bleijie said while he would consider any further reform if the Police Commissioner felt it was necessary, neither he, the chief magistrate or the chief justice had asked for changes to be made in this area.

"I will not be held to ransom from someone trying to score political points," he said.

Under current laws, police can ask for a burqa to be removed but are unable to charge someone who refuses.

Queensland Police Minister, Jack Dempsey, said if police arrested someone in a burqa on suspicion of a criminal offence, they could forcibly have it removed for identification purposes but it would be done with cultural sensitivity and with female officers present.

Former president for the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Haset Sali yesterday repeated his total support for Mr Wellington.

"Politics is a funny arena and I don't know why (the original bill) hit a brick wall," he said. "Common sense dictates this should happen and there is certainly nothing in the Koran that requires women to dress like a tent.

"In this country, the idea of wearing the full burqa is a primitive, Bedouin culture and has nothing to do with Islam."


Concert to pull on the heart strings

Concert to pull on the heart strings

Premier chamber music comes to Noosa

Master class for innovation at Hub

Master class for innovation at Hub

Innovation course for SME's

All in the prep for scenic trek

All in the prep for scenic trek

Scenic Rim hike a rewarding experience for local trekkers

Local Partners