National security experts say One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson’s burka stunt may undermine intelligence agency ASIO’s work with Islamic communities.
- Hanson wore full Islamic dress during Question Time, called on Government to ban it
- Experts say Hanson’s actions were “toxic” and counterproductive
- Brandis praised for “pretty damn impressive” response
Senator Hanson wore the full Islamic dress during Question Time on Thursday and called on the Federal Government to ban it.
Her actions prompted an emotional rebuke from Attorney-General George Brandis who said Senator Hanson had acted appallingly.
John Blaxland from the Australian National University said Senator Hanson’s comments were “toxic” and counterproductive.
Professor Blaxland, who wrote a history of domestic spy agency ASIO, said the comments could damage its relationship with the Islamic community.
“It is so important that people who are wavering, who know something really dodgy, can have confidence they can go to the authorities and be treated with respect,” he said.
“It is important [they] know that what they communicate will be treated with confidence and used appropriately.”
Deradicalisation expert Clarke Jones said Senator Hanson’s comments would make Islamic youth feel unwelcome in Australian and could radicalise them.
“Comments like that, the language she used, stunts like this, is damaging kids’ spirits and making them question where they are and if they belong,” he said.
“It’s a terrible thing and it’s got to stop.”
Birmingham slams Hanson for ‘appalling stunt’
Senator Hanson defended her actions, saying it was an extreme way of getting her message across to attempt to highlight what she sees as security risks.
“It is not a religious requirement. This is brought in by men who want to cover up their women. It is oppressing women,” she said.
Video: Pauline Hanson speaks after removing the burka she wore in the Senate chamber. (Photo: Jed Cooper)
But Coalition frontbencher Simon Birmingham accused Senator Hanson of undermining the work of Australia’s law enforcement agencies.
“It was an appalling stunt. It was an insult to Senate conventions and practice. It was an insult to many thousands of hard-working, law-abiding Australians,” Senator Birmingham told Lateline.
“It was something that undermines the hard work of our law enforcement agencies.”
Brandis put ‘a wet blanket on the flames’
Both Dr Clarke and Professor Blaxland praised Senator Brandis’ response to Senator Hanson, which drew applause from all sides of politics.
“To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do,” Senator Brandis said.
“I would ask you to reflect on that.”
Mr Blaxland said Senator Brandis put “a wet blanket on the flames”.
“It was pretty damn impressive, actually,” he said.
ASIO and the Australian Federal Police were contacted for comment.