The 27-year-old refugee who fled the Taliban at the age of five became Australia’s first hijab-wearing senator and vowed to represent everyone ‘where they come from and whatever they believe in’
- 27-year-old refugee and hijab-wearer Fatima Peman has been elected to the Senate
- The union organizer is also the third youngest senator in Australia’s history.
- Her family fled Afghanistan when she was five years old after being targeted by the Taliban
A 27-year-old refugee who fled Taliban She has become Australia’s first hijab-wearing senator.
Labor’s Fatima Payman is WA’s sixth. selected for managing committee seat after the election results on Monday. She is the third youngest Australian Senator in history.
Union organizer Ms. Peyman was five years old when her family fled the Taliban Afghanistan and moved on Pakistan, The family was targeted by the Taliban because his grandfather was a member of the Afghan parliament.
His father, a major inspiration to the new senator, then sailed for Australia by boat, vowing to find ‘a better life for his children’.
Ms. Payman, the eldest of four children, followed in her father’s footsteps three years later, with the family settling in the northern suburbs of Perth.
The new senator is proud of his legacy, but told the Guardian after his election victory that he was an ‘Australian first’.
Labor’s Fatima Payman, 27, was elected to WA’s sixth Senate seat on Monday following election results.
She will be the first hijab-wearing senator to sit in Australia’s parliament after her victory.
Union organizer Ms. Payman was five years old (pictured) when her family fled the Taliban in Afghanistan and moved to Pakistan
“Yes, I am the first woman to wear a hijab in Parliament, but it was my labor values that got me here,” she said.
‘Before I am an Australian Labor senator, whether I am Afghan, or expatriate or Muslim, I really want to emphasize this. I believe that everyone deserves a fair journey in life, regardless of where they come from and what they believe in, their sexual orientation, age or ability.’
Ms Payman also took aim at re-elected One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson, who wore a burqa as part of a political stunt in the Senate that called for a ban. Ms. Payman jokingly said Ms Hanson ‘stole her thunder’ but said she would ‘teach her how I wear my hijab’.
The newly-elected senator has previously spoken about how his father instilled in him the values of ‘hard work and perseverance’.
He was also ‘obsessed’ with politics and often discussed it at the dinner table.
Her father took several jobs after moving to Australia, working as a kitchen hand, security guard and taxi driver. His mother, who took care of the family, also started a business of teaching driving.
Ms Payman lost her father to leukemia in 2018, something that pushed her to politics.
New senator proud of his legacy, but tells Guardian he is ‘Australian first’ after his election victory
The newly-elected senator had earlier talked about how his father instilled in him the values of ‘hard work and perseverance’.
She worked as an organizer at the United Workers’ Union with her Labor profile saying she wanted to ‘represent people like her father and other hardworking Australians who want to make ends meet and give life their best shot’. Let’s try.
Ms Payman has volunteered by teaching high school students and worked with WA Police to help them ‘better understand the barriers facing youth and culturally diverse communities’.
After his election victory, he told the Guardian, ‘I’m really excited to be involved, to learn as much as I can and start making a difference, because that’s why I put my hand first.
‘My mother was crying. I honestly would do anything to know or see my dad’s reaction. I know he would be very proud of me. He will feel that it has been an unreal journey.