Pauline Hanson stunt blamed for burqa robbery
A MELBOURNE couple have been charged following a controversial armed robbery where a woman used a burqa to conceal her identity.
Armed with a knife Felicity Chafer-Smith and her boyfriend Clinton Phillips, held up the Croydon Subway restaurant on Saturday and made off with cash from the till.
Chafer-Smith, 21 and Phillips, 38, allegedly orchestrated a string of robberies over the past few days with their targets including a jewellery store, a Shell service station and another Subway store.
The couple were said to use scarves to conceal their faces in all the other robberies but this latest stunt, where Chafer-Smith wore the cultural garment along with a full face veil.
Maroondah mayor, Tony Dib, blamed Pauline Hanson's Senate fiasco as the inspiration for the robbery.
"Because of the silly things that Pauline Hanson did in the Senate, you'll probably see a lot of it happening," Mayor Dib said.
"People instead of wearing a hat or a helmet or a mask, they'll be wearing a burqa."
Hanson recently made international headlines after she wore a burqa with a niqab into Senate to "prove a point" about Australia needing to ban the religious garment for "national security".
Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said, "The Pauline Hanson stunt will continue to have negative repercussions in Australia for all sorts of reasons."
The leader of the One Nation party told Nine News, "I think it's absolutely rubbish to even think that. It's not what I say, it's our laws that are allowing them."
The cultural dress has previously been used in robberies both in Australia and overseas but it is not a common occurrence.
Hanson hit back at the allegations in a press conference but the only other occasion she could recall a burqa being used in such events was in 2010.
She also said she did not regret her own burqa "stunt" in parliament as it has created debate.
Phillips is currently being held in police custody and will allegedly appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this Friday.
Chafer-Smith is also said to be facing court but at some point in the future.