Women’s groups oppose ‘Burqa Ban’

The NFAW and associated groups welcome today’s (20/10/14) announcement that the ban on individuals wearing face veiling at Australian Parliament House has been reversed.

Joint statement from:

  • The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW)
  • YWCA Australia,
  • Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) Australia,
  • WIRE Women’s Information
  • Women with Disabilities ACT,
  • JERA International
  • National Alliance of Working Women’s Centres
  • Women in Adult and Vocational Education
  • ACT Council of Social Service.
  • National Council of Jewish Women of Australia
  • Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW)
  • Destroy the Joint
  • Immigrant Women’s Speak Out Association
  • Ethic Child Care and Community Services Cooperative
  • Addison Road Community Association
  • Australian Women’s Health Network
  • Business and Professional Women Australia
  • Jessie Street National Women’s Library
  • National Council of Women
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  • The Older Women’s Network NSW
  • Soroptomist International Australia
  • Belconnen Community Service Inc.
  • Australian Council on Women and Policing
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Service Canberra
  • Migrant Women’s Lobby Group of South Australia
  • Women’s Legal Service Canberra and Region
  • Australian Womensport and Recreation Association
  • Woden Community Service
  • Association of Women Educators
  • Australian Graduate Women
  • Toora Women’s Refuge
  • Women’s Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia
  • Northern Territory Council of Social Service
  • Association of Women Educators

Women’s groups have noted the recent public discussions around the dress of some women of the Muslim faith, and the reports of some public acts of aggression against such women, as well as debate around their access to Parliament House in Canberra.

All Australian women have the right to be safe in public places and singling out one mode of dress as unacceptable creates a potential danger for these women and encourages discrimination against them.

“As a multi-cultural society we must respect and celebrate cultural difference, not merely tolerate difference,” spokesperson for the group Ms Marie Coleman says.

“We strongly support the various individuals and organisations who have supported Muslim women, just as we support the right of all women to a safe environment.

“Women have every right to feel safe and accepted, regardless of their mode of dress,” Ms Coleman added.

This statement has been provided to the presiding officers of the Parliament of Australia, asking them to take our concerns into account in reviewing their interim order concerning wearing the burqa in Parliament House. The statement has also been provided to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, asking her to support us, and to convey our concerns to the Minister for Women ( The Prime Minister of Australia).

Further Comment:  Marie Coleman AO PSM   0414483067

Chair, Social Policy Committee, National Foundation for Australian Women

Click here for the document to print and circulate – Burqa ban statement FINAL

Contact Marie Coleman at 0414483067 if your organisation would like to endorse this statement

Response from Senator Cash, The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women – Response to email (27 October)

MUSLIM LEGAL NETWORK-appreciation of statement

Hi Marie
The MLN and the Muslim community are please to hear of your support. Thank you for releasing this joint statement.

We have also received messages of support from ordinary Australian citizens and it makes a significant difference to the way Muslims feel. WE all need to ensure that Australians all feel like they belong here and are an accepted and valued part of our society. Regardless of what they wear or what religion they believe in.

We will be in touch in the future when there is an opportunity to work together.



Nizam Jazeer Nijamudeen

President (VIC)

Muslim Legal Network

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