Opinion is divided on the proposed burqa ban that federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton opposed at The Nationals’ federal conference.
His stance has drawn both criticism and applause on the Daily Liberal Facebook page.
A motion by federal Member for Dawson George Christensen called on the conference to support a “ban on facial coverings in government buildings and where possible public places, excluding places of worship, where it assists with security and public safety”.
Mr Coulton spoke and voted against the motion that was defeated by four votes.
“If we start singling people out for their religious beliefs, we’re on a slippery slope,” he told the Daily Liberal.
“This is Australia. We have freedom of religion.”
Mr Christensen intends pursuing the ban while noting his party is “bleeding to the right” on such issues.
In August One Nation leader Pauline Hanson wore a burqa into the Senate.
Mr Coulton told the Daily Liberal that the burqa was “not an issue for the towns I represent”.
On the Daily Liberal Facebook page, Nicholas Wilson disagreed. “Yes it is you idiot,” he wrote.
“Ban the bloody thing. You are out of touch with your community. It has to go. They just lost my vote.”
Mark Peacey said Mr Coulton had “no backbone”.
But Cameron Bestwick praised Mr Coulton. “Good on you mate,” he wrote.
“Basically all the meat from Fletcher's goes to the Middle East anyway. Banning the burqa is bad for local jobs.”
Narelle Grant wrote: “How many Muslims do you guys know, and how many women have you seen wearing a burqa?
Dale Albus Elliott suggested “let's ban something you find important and see how you'd like it then”.
“What a disgrace Australia the free and equal country has become,” he wrote. “Makes me ashamed of being Australian.
“We're all one and a multicultural nation. Get used to it people.”