SYDNEY: Fatima Payman, 27, made history this week after becoming the first hijab-wearing Senator in Australia’s parliament.
Payman broke down a few minutes into her first speech in Parliament when thanking her father for his sacrifices who arrived in Australia as an Afghan refugee and died in 2018.
“Who would have thought that a young woman born in Afghanistan and the daughter of a refugee would be standing in this chamber today?” said Payman.
“Knowing the sacrifices that my dad went through as a taxi driver and security guard to ensure he saved up enough money to make ends meet, to support his family, and to ensure my siblings and I had the future he wasn’t able to secure for himself.”
Payman was eight years old when she arrived in Australia in 2003 with her mother and three younger siblings.
She attended Australian Islamic College in Perth and went to university to become a doctor, but got involved in politics instead.
Payman’s father died of leukaemia in 2018 at the age of 47 and unfortunately never lived to see her become a senator.
She also addressed concerns about her hijab, emphasising that wearing it was her choice.
“For those who choose to advise me on what I should wear, or judge my competency based on my external experience, know that the hijab is my choice,” Payman said. “I am young, I am progressive, and my family were born overseas – I am a representative of modern Australia.”
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