Speaker Bronwyn Bishop's bid for a prestigious international job may have suffered a blow after controversial announcements about the wearing of burqas and niqabs at Parliament House.

The Speaker is campaigning for the presidency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organisation that promotes democracy. She is running against candidates from Muslim nations Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Maldives. Ms Bishop is reportedly the frontrunner.

The IPU places an emphasis on the empowerment of women, especially when it comes to politics and government. At October's assembly, a debate has been scheduled on "achieving gender equality [and] ending violence against women".

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