Nutter MP Fred Nile says he wants topless bathing banned in New South Wales to protect Sydney's Muslim and Asian communities.
The Reverend Prude Nile has rejected allegations that prudishness is behind a bill he has prepared to ban nudity, including topless sunbathing, on the state's most popular beaches.
Australia's reputation as a conservative but culturally inclusive society was at risk of erosion by more liberal overseas visitors, he said.
Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it's their religious or cultural views, he said: If they've come from a Middle Eastern or Asian country where women never go topless - in fact they usually wear a lot of clothing -
I think it's important to respect all the different cultures that make up Australia.
Acting Premier Carmel Tebbutt and the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, have both said that topless bathing is an issue for local councils, not state governments.
NSW No So Liberal powerbroker David Clarke and Labor MP Paul Gibson have reportedly vowed to support the bill.
Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the topless issue was one of context and clear signage: People want to go to the beach and use the beach in a variety of ways. Obviously family groups want to go to the
beach, people who want to get a bit of sun all over also want to go to the beach. As long as people know what the rules are and know what to expect I think it is a matter for the individuals involved.
Waverley Council Mayor Sally Betts says she is aghast at moves by state politicians to outlaw women from sunbathing topless on NSW beaches. We've got alcohol-related violence, we've got under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour in the public domain
- those are really important issues, Betts told Fairfax Radio Network. If the Reverend Nile really wants to help people he should focus on those issues.