A plan to force Parliament House visitors wearing face coverings to sit in a glass enclosure in the public gallery has been dropped.
The proposal led to claims that it discriminated against Muslim women and intervention by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry had approved the plan in the wake of calls from some politicians, including South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, to “ban the burqa”, but now people wearing a head covering will be free to move about Parliament once their identity has been established.
This morning, the Department of Parliamentary Services released a statement outlining changes to the security plans.
The ABC reports that under the new arrangements visitors to Parliament will need to “temporarily remove any coverings”.
The statement continues:
That will enable security staff to identify any person who may have been banned from entering Parliament House or who may be known, or discovered, to be a security risk.
Once this process has taken place, visitors are free to move about the public spaces of the building, including all chamber galleries, with facial coverings in place.
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