New Rules Segregate Muslim Women Wearing Niqabs And Burqas Behind Glass At Australian Parliament
"Am I to understand that there is to be a burqa box now?"
Australia's Parliament House has brought in new rules that will see people with "facial coverings" made to sit behind glass to view proceedings.
The "security modifications" were made on Thursday amid a debate over the burqa in Australia.
The new rule says that to watch parliament, people with "facial coverings" will now sit in enclosed galleries where schoolchildren watch behind glass and under guard.
"This will ensure that persons with facial coverings can continue to enter the Chamber galleries, without needing to be identifiable," the department for parliamentary services said.
A spokeswoman for Parliament House told BuzzFeed News that both women wearing burqas and niqabs would likely be targeted by the new rules, but "it's not religious, it's about any veil".
Tension over banning the burqa in parliament increased when prime minister Tony Abbott said he was "uncomfortable" by the burqa and that he wished it was not worn in Australia.
The newly appointed Australian federal police commissioner, Andrew Colvin, said he would not be drawn into a debate about banning of the burqa, but that state policing legislation gave officers around the country enough powers to legally identify niqab and burqa wearers.