A Muslim woman's successful appeal against a jail sentence has again raised concerns over legal requirements surrounding burqa headwear.

A Sydney District Court judge allowed the appeal after he found there was no evidence that 46-year-old mother of three Carnita Matthews had made the false complaint against a police officer who issued her with a traffic ticket last year.

The woman who lodged the formal complaint at Campbelltown police station had worn a burqa at the time, and the receiving officer had not properly identified her.

"All we know is that a person with a black burqa came in with a man in a brown suit with an envelope and that's it," Judge Clive Jeffreys said. "I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she made the complaint."

The case has revived debate over the burqa and similar niqab, especially when facial identification is required.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said police had the right to try to establish the identity of people they were concerned about, and Police Minister Mike Gallacher said women who refused to lift face veils could be fingerprinted, although the powers of an officer were unclear.

Last year, Perth District Court Judge Shauna Deane ruled that a witness could not wear a niqab while giving evidence in a fraud case because the jury should not be impeded in its ability to assess her demeanour.

Belgium and France have banned burqas in public places, Spain has outlawed their use in government buildings and - while not specifically naming Muslim headwear - Italy prohibits covering faces in public.

Some Muslim countries have also acted: Egypt and Syria have banned niqabs in universities, and Turkey and Tunisia have outlawed the less restrictive hijab headscarves that do not cover the face.

So far there has been no real move to act against the wearing of burqa and niqab among Australia's 280,000 Muslims, now comprising the nation's second-largest religion.

Last year, conservative Liberal senator Cory Bernadi, supported by NSW Christian Democrats Leader Rev Fred Nile, sparked a national debate by calling for the clothing to be banned, a call repeated by Nile after Matthews' appeal.

The proposal gained some unexpected support including Ameer Ali, vice-president of the Regional Islamic Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the chairman of former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard's Muslim advisory group.

In a column for the West Australian he described the burqa and niqab as "the lingering relics of a patriarchal, misogynistic and tribal culture".

The president of the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, Aziza Abdel-Halim, also supported restrictions in an interview with the Age.

But a ban has never gained serious political traction, despite Opposition leader Tony Abbott's belief that the headwear is "confronting" and "oppressive".

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said during last year's debate that no law enforcement agency had recommended banning the burqa.

Matthews had been stopped during random breath-testing, had been found not to have properly displayed her probationary plates, and was asked to remove her veil for identification.

In a video taped from the police car, Williams was shown telling the officer: "You are racist, because you just looked at me and you see me with the niqab on and you couldn't handle it."

Matthews was alleged to have later lodged a formal complaint in a statutory declaration claiming the officer had tried to physically force her to remove the veil, an allegation not supported by the video.