Australian leader urges rethink on face veil move

AP News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2014 1:14 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked Parliament House officials to reconsider a new security measure that segregates Muslim women who wear face veils from other visitors to the seat of Australia's national government.

The government department that runs Parliament House announced Thursday that "persons with facial coverings" would no longer be allowed in the open public galleries of the House of Representatives or the Senate. They would be directed to the higher galleries usually reserved for noisy school children where they could sit behind sound-proof glass.

The measure has been widely criticized as a potential breach of federal anti-discrimination law that had dubious benefit to the building's security.

Abbott said on Friday that he had asked House Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to "rethink that decision."