Melbourne’s mayor accused of attack on Santa

Robert Doyle has compared burqa-wearing Muslims to Santa Claus.

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor yesterday said banning the burqa for security reasons could equally apply to people dressed as Santa. “After all, he’s got that red cap with the white band pulled down low over his forehead and then he’s got this false beard that hides most of his face in the lower part. So maybe those guys should be banned because you can’t really identify them,” he joked.

But anti-burqa senator Cory Bernardi said that Santa had no place in the debate. “It surprises me that the thought bubble from Robert Doyle would question one of our great cultural traditions in defence of something that is so alien to most Australians,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are already too many instances when our cultural traditions and celebrations have been abandoned to appease the disease of political correctness.”

A group of Victorian youths held an anti-burqa protest on Monday in response to the case of a Sydney woman who, because of identity issues caused by her wearing a burqua, successfully appealed against a jail sentence for deliberately making a false statement.

Cr Doyle said that calls to ban the burqa were offensive and a sign of prejudice and that there were procedures in place for police and customs staff who needed to properly identify someone wearing a burqua.

Herald Sun, 20 July 2011

See also Helen Szoke, “Burqa rally is about stoking fear not promoting security”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2011