One would think the women would be happy to be separated from potential contact with males, after all, they are segregated in their mosques, why should they care. This really isn't very different from the segregation they already encounter, but human rights and race discrimination activists thought differently.
Race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane told Fairfax Media the original ruling meant Muslim women were being treated differently to non-Muslim women.
"No-one should be treated like a second-class citizen, not least in the parliament,” he said.
“I have yet to see any expert opinion or analysis to date which indicates that the burqa or the niqab represents an additional or special security threat.”What? They want to be treated differently than non-Muslim women, that's why they wear burqas and niqabs in a Western society in the first place. And if they're wearing burqas, they're already being treated as second-class citizens, so what's the difference. And burqas and niqabs are most definitely a security threat. Lot's of space under that garb to hide any manner of explosives or weapons.
But it wasn't just activists who were opposed.
..Labor opposition frontbencher Tony Burke welcomed the backdown but said the initial decision should never have been made.
“What possessed them to think that segregation was a good idea?” he said.
“Segregation was previously introduced, apparently, with no security advice attached to it and no security reason attached to it.”
Apparently, they have now changed the rules.
The Department of Parliamentary Services said in a statement that the rules had been changed and all visitors must now “temporarily remove any coverings” that prevent the recognition of facial features.
“This will enable security staff to identify anyone who may have been banned from entering the building or who may be known to be a security risk,” it said.
“Once this process has taken place visitors are free to move about the public spaces of the building, including all chamber galleries, with facial coverings in place”.
Source: Al Arabiya