While the sanctimonious amongst us lecture on the idea of freedom in clothing it is worth remembering the history of the requirements in Australia over appropriate bathing attire. The old "neck to knee" costume was mandatory, and Annette Kellerman's athletic version was banned in 1906.
As Waleed Aly points out in this morning's SMH, as with others, highlights the fact the public debate about the burqa is really about the niqab. The Wikipedia entry (though weak in parts) is a good start http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niqāb.
He goes further and explains this attack isn't just based on ignorance, it is also sexist. As he says "whatever the outrage, whatever the fear, and whatever the cause, it is women that must suffer first and foremost."