The debate over wearing the burqa has fired up again.

The Prime Minister’s hosing down his comment that he found the Muslim attire confronting.

But today one of his frontbenchers, Kevin Andrews, called them medieval and demeaning.

Now, burqa-wearing visitors to Parliament will only be able to watch proceedings, from enclosed galleries.

Gabrielle Copp reports.


It’s a debate that has divided politicians and sparked backlash within the community.

On morning radio, the Prime Minister was backing away from further comment.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “I did have a bit to say on this subject yesterday, I gave a series of very complete answers, and I don’t propose to say anything about it today.“

But on television, Palmer United’s Jacquie Lambie who wants the burqa banned on security grounds, went head to head with one of her critics.

Jacqui Lambie, Palmer United Party: “That’s what I’m asking for. I’m concerned about it because what I’d like to see is, I’d like to see the ladies’ faces. I can’t see.”

She’s likely to find ally in coalition backbencher, Cory Bernardi.

Although Tanya Plibersek had an interesting spin.

Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Foreign Minister: “I’d prefer it if Tony Abbott didn’t get about in his speedos, either, but it’s a free country.”

So what are the main Muslim coverings?

The hijab is a scarf covering the head and neck.

The chador is a full body cloak, leaving the face revealed.

The niqab is a veil that covers everything but the eyes.

The burqa covers the entire face and body, with just a mesh screen to see through.

The man in charge of security, newly appointed Federal Police Commissioner, Andrew Colvin is playing down any security concerns.

He says all Australians are free to dress as they see fit.

Gabrielle Copp, QUT News.