One of the “unrepresentative swill” of the NSW Parliament is up to his old tricks, dog-whistling racist sentiments in order to get a bit of attention.

New South Wales MP Reverend Fred Nile has introduced a private members bill to the state’s parliament, calling for people to be banned from wearing full-face covering in a public place. Of course, it’s aimed at burqa-wearing Muslim women, one of Nile’s favourite targets.

Someone could sue the Christian Democrats under the Trade Practices Act, as the party seems to be neither Christian nor democratic, in my opinion. Although my knowledge of the bible is not current (and quite possibly based on the songs of Jesus Christ Superstar), I’m sure that Jesus preached tolerance of other races and religions.

And although the CDP vote has declined at the Federal and State level since the 1980s — according to guru Antony Green — thanks to the vagaries of the NSW electoral system, Nile was elected last time with about 5% of the vote.

While the CDP subscribes to the usual grab-bag of right-wing Christian policies –- no gays or abortions — it is the party’s stand on Islam that makes me think that it is in fact a beard for the ultra-orthodox wing of the Zionists. Does most of it’s funding come from Tel Aviv, has anyone checked?

In September 2007 the party put out a press release calling for a “declaration of war on Islamism.”

“CDP Leader Reverend the Hon Fred Nile MLC and Senate team leader for NSW Pastor Paul Green have jointly stated that Christian civilisation is directly under threat and no time can be lost in mounting a defence.”

The party has also been lobbying the Federal Government for a 10 year moratorium on Muslim immigration “so an assessment can be made on the social and political disharmony currently occurring in the Netherlands, France and the UK, so as to ensure we avoid making the same mistakes.”

But it’s hard to always get it right when you are fighting a holy war. According to Green, the CDP at the 2007 state election announced they would not direct preferences to any candidate who was Muslim.

“This promise was undermined when one of the candidates they identified as Muslim turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christian, while they failed to notice another Liberal Muslim candidate.”

Of course, most religious dress codes are quite amusing, and if we are going to allow Catholic priests to swan around dressed like Dracula, then I can’t see why Muslim women can’t do the same. And, having dropped my 13-year-old daughter at a school dance last week, I’m starting to think that the Taliban might have a point.

Greens MP John Kaye says the bill is directly targeted at Muslim women wearing burqas.

“The New South Wales Greens are appalled that the parliament allowed Fred Nile to use it as a platform to launch an attack designed to harvest the bigot vote,” he said.

“He wants to boost his party’s chances at the 2011 election, and he doesn’t care what damage it does to community relations in New South Wales. It’s not about burqas, it’s about stirring up racial hatred within our society.”

Mr Kaye says the Greens, the Labor Party and the Opposition will vote against the bill when it comes up again in September.

The only good news for the rest of us is that the 76-year-old parliamentarian has said he will be retiring in 2015 when his current term expires. That’s more than 30 years of starring in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras!

Happy retirement Reverend Fred.

Peter Fray

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