Australia's peak Islamic organisation has reacted with disappointment to calls from a conservative senator to ban the burka. Senator Cory Bernardi said the burka was "un-Australian" and should be banned.
He called it a "repressive domination of men over women" and said it established "different sets and expectations in society", according to Australian media reports.
Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd accused the conservative Liberal opposition of playing a cynical political exercise by floating the idea of banning the burka and totally rejected the move.
"I think they are walking both sides of the street on this one ... having someone like Mr Bernardi go out there and talk this up," he said.
"It's a pretty interesting exercise in cynical politics".
In an article, Senator Bernardi said it was unfair that people with motorcycle helmets had to remove them to identify themselves, where women wearing burkas did not because of religious freedom.
A political row erupted in the northern Italian city of Novara last week after a Muslim woman was fined 500 euros by police after she refused to remove her full-face covering burka.
In January, Denmark's centre-right government said the burka was out of step with Danish values, but held off on a ban.
The French government is pressing for similar legislation, and a German member of the European Parliament last week said a ban should be enforced across the European Union.
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