Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has defended a Liberal candidate who spoke against women wearing the burqa and says he finds the headwear confronting.

"It is not the sort of attire I would like to see widespread in our streets. But this is a free country, everyone's entitled to make their choice and if people want to wear a burqa, ultimately it is their business," Mr Abbott told reporters in Rockhampton on Saturday.

He was responding to a question about former high-ranking policeman Ray King who is challenging Treasurer Chris Bowen for the Sydney seat of McMahon and has faced criticism for his comments suggesting the burqa is a sign of oppression.

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