Conservative MP Fred Nile says he wants topless bathing banned in NSW to protect Sydney's Muslim and Asian communities.
The Reverend 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."
The practice was at risk of raising the ire of Muslim men in particular, Mr Nile said.