White woman wearing burka

JUSTIN HALL is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sparks Conversation about Clothing and Security

About a month ago, Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson decided to wear an Islamic garb into the senate meeting to prove a point. She did this to highlight the security risks that official buildings in Australia face from the identity-concealing dressing. The leader of One Nation Party, Pauline Hanson’s recent burqa stunt could lead to a drastic change in the Australian Senate’s dress code.

It could also result in a “time-out” for any MP that defies those house rules. The Senate President, Stephen Parry wrote to the Senate Standing Committee to request an evaluation of the upper house’s dress code after the incident.

The Senate president aside from requesting a revision of the dressing code asked the committee to consider granting new powers to the Senate president and his deputy to suspend from the chamber any member who breaches the standing orders. He further expressed his disappointment in the need for the Senate to consider implementing new rules on dress code rather than relying on the senators’ good judgment and personal discretion.


Senator Hanson was rebuked harshly for her behavior. Attorney General George Brandis criticized her action at that time, informing her that the Coalition had no intention of banning the burqa.

Senator Parry has recently made a statement saying, “I want it clearly known that at no point was the integrity of the security of Parliament ever placed at risk by Senator Hanson or for that matter of any other person.”

No dress code has been set yet, but senators can violate standing orders by interrupting the business of the Senate, disorderly behavior, disregarding the chair persistently or disregarding all standing orders. The Senate president may also call on senators to report infringement, apologize or seek the Senate’s decision on what action to take against the violator.

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