Malcolm Turnbull says Australia must put ‘safety first’ when asked about burqa ban
Malcolm Turnbull said there were certain environments in which people’s faces shouldn’t be covered when asked about a call to ban the burqa in public buildings – but he insists it is a matter of “safety first” and is unrelated to religion.
The comments came in an interview with 4BC Radio in which Turnbull also refused to be drawn about an imminent cabinet reshuffle, after a report suggested Greg Hunt was in the box seat to become the health minister.
When asked a leading question about “how much of a risk to national security” the burqa is, Turnbull said: “It’s not something that you should be generalising about but there are obviously environments where it’s important for people’s faces not to be covered for identity reasons.
“We don’t tell people how to dress in Australia. But, where it’s important that people’s identity be plain, their faces shouldn’t be covered.”
Asked about One Nation’s call to ban the burqa in public buildings in Queensland, Turnbull said it “depends on each environment” whether new laws were required to regulate face coverings.
“The fundamental rule has got to be safety first … This has got nothing to do with religion or any of that. It is a simple, practical matter.”