Thursday, February 22, 2024

Fatima Payman becomes first Afghan refugee, hijab-wearing woman in Australian parliament

Fatima Payman, an Afghan-Australian refugee has won western Australia’s sixth and final senate seat, becoming the first hijab wearing woman in the parliament.

Fatima overjoyed on getting a seat at the expense of Liberals and said on facebook: “WE WON!!!! I’m proud to announce that I’ve officially been elected as a Senator for Western Australia.”

This victory of Fatima came on 20 June 20, World Refugee Day.

After Labor senators Sue Lines and Glenn Sterle were re-elected, she is the only new senator of the state, along with Liberal senators Michaelia Cash and Dean Smith.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was quick to offer his congratulations and tweeted “Congratulations Senator Payman”.

Fatima came to Australia with her parents and siblings as a child, before growing up in Perth’s northern suburbs. Her father was working as security guard and taxi driver and mother looked after the family by doing business of providing driving lessons.

Fatima became an organiser for the United Workers Union as her parent’s hardships inspired and influenced in her childhood. After losing her dad to leukaemia in 2018, she wanted work for hard-working Australians like him who strived to make ends meet.

Labor representatives and rights activists were quick to congratulate Fatima on Monday.

“I am so proud that our state is sending Fatima to represent us in Canberra,Senator-elect Payman is an Australian Muslim with cultural roots from Afghanistan, the eldest of four children and a strong advocate for workers,” read a tweet by MP Patrick Gorman.

Her Fellow WA Labor Senator Ms Lines said she was “making history today”.

The Afghan embassy in Australia said it was pleased to hear the news, particularly on
World Refugee Day.


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