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Furor over Sydney plan to ban topless sunbathing

Furor over Sydney plan to ban topless sunbathing

A Christian lawmaker has proposed legislation that would ban women from sunbathing topless on Sydney's beaches, where bare breasts have been a common sight for decades.
Critics were quick to condemn the measure _ first reported Tuesday on the front page of the city's The Daily Telegraph newspaper _ as unnecessary and a distraction from real concerns.
Leaders of the two major parties in the New South Wales state Parliament, where the bill will be introduced in the coming weeks, have effectively killed it by arguing that local governments should be left to decide the boundaries of decent exposure.
But Reverend Fred Nile, president of the minor Christian Democratic Party and an outspoken legislator, contends it is an important clarification to the existing law that bans nudity. Australian local councils can fine people for being naked on beaches not designated as nudist beaches, but none considers topless women to be naked.
"The law should be clear," Nile was quoted as telling The Daily Telegraph.
"It must say: 'exposure of women's breasts on beaches will be prohibited,'" he added. He was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Mayor Sally Betts, whose Waverley Council area includes Sydney's famous Bondi Beach, said she was aghast that state lawmakers would consider cracking down on topless sunbathing when Sydney faced far greater social problems.
"We've got alcohol-related violence, we've got underage drinking and anti-social behavior in the public domain _ those are really important issues," Betts told Fairfax Radio Network, adding that her constituents never complained about topless women.


Updated : 2021-05-19 08:43 GMT+08:00