Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has tabled in Parliament yesterday, a Private Members Bill which will make it an offence to wear full face coverings in a public place under Commonwealth jurisdiction, as well as making it offence to force another person or child to wear a full face covering - unless otherwise authorised or excused by law.
Senator Lambie’s Bill links the prohibition of full face coverings to the National Terrorism Threat Level. The ban will be automatically activated when the terrorism threat level reaches the 3rd highest alert rating of 'Probable', and remains in place for “Expected” and “Certain” ratings. Currently Australia’s official 5 step terror alert level is set by the Government at “Probable”.
“While the National Terrorist threat level is at “Probable” or higher, if this Bill passes Parliament, you will not be allowed to wear a full face covering in Commonwealth public places without a very good reason. This Bill is ensures the public is more safe - and feels safe at a time when terrorists are likely to attack.
Look I know how some of the media will twist this - If you call me anti-Muslim, then you’d have to call countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Chad and Turkey anti-Muslim as well because they have all banned the burqa.
I respect every-ones’ right to express their religious beliefs by wearing different clothing, but the right to express in public - religious beliefs for minority groups - must always come second to the right for the overwhelming majority of Australians to be and feel safe during a time when its a matter of when - not if - the next terrorism attack happens.
If you want to wear full face coverings, then you have to have a good reason you’re OK - and there are people who do have good reasons. For example: If you have to cover your face for work for safety - and you’re in public places - you’re OK.
If you have to cover your face as part of a parade and you’re an actor or part of the entertainment industry - and you’re working in public places - you’re OK - so Santa, you can keep your big fake beard.
If you need to cover and protect your face and you’re playing sport - in a public place - you’re OK!
But if you want to go-round in public with a bag over your head with a couple of eye holes - causing unnecessary fear and there’s no good reason - then you are looking at a maximum fine of $3,600!
If you force another person to wear a full face covering in a public place - then your looking at maximum fine of $36,000 and 6months in jail.
If you force a child to wear a full face covering in a public place - then your looking at maximum fine of $72,000 and 12 months in jail.” said Senator Lambie.