While any sincere discussion of the burka is welcome, attempts to legislate against it are an assault on liberty.
The veil may be seen as inconsistent with Western culture or as representing oppression of women, but so, for example, is some rap music. We don’t normally legislate culture, and we don’t force people to be free.
The veil covers the face, but so do hoods, beards, sunglasses, long hair, makeup, masks; no-one proposes banning them. Why single out the burka? Can brides still wear veils, or only Christian ones?
The burka is a garment, and a symbol. The most abhorred symbol of all, the swastika, is perfectly legal in France, where the burka now is not. Let’s hope Australia’s commitment to liberty is stronger than Sarkozy’s.