Although it looks as though Abbott will pressure the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate to backdown on not allowing women wearing Islamic religious dress to sit in the Gallery opf the Parliament; It remains to be seen if that will actually happen.
I suspect it will. But we shall see.
The Abbott machine has obviously sussed out very quickly that the community is "not very happy" about the arbitrary erosion of religious freedom
One of the great problems is that the non religious community is pretty unaware of what such things are all about. And often use such issues for expressions of fear, intolerance and....frankly ignorance.
Most of us, for example, are not aware that there is a variety of religious garb...quite a good article on the ABC News website here.
I also have often made the observation that you don't have to go very far to find that the sort of criticisms that today are offered about Islam, or Judaism, Hare Krishnas...could just as easily be fired at Christians.
The typical characterisation of "cults" for example...that people sell up their lives and give their money to the faith body; make acts of commitment and ultimate obedience....could just as easily be aimed at many Christians.
Indeed I make the observation : would nuns of the most conservative Christian traditions (like the one that Senator Bernardi and Mr Abbott belong to) also be banned because their bodies and faces can't be readily identified.
I know that lots of modern nuns don't wear habits at all. And most people don't understand what they are all about it. Some of it is anachronistic (see below)...but in a pluralistic and democratic society people are allowed to choose to be religiously conservative ...even if you or I would not choose to be so.