29 May 2024

Fatima Payman: Australia’s first Hijabi Senator

Fatima Payman: Australia’s first Hijabi Senator


Zahra is an Indian Iranian creative who loves learning. Her particular areas of interest are culture & identity. Outside of researching, writing and collating stories together, she’s an avid reader and traveller.

Fatima Payman: Australia’s first Hijabi Senator

Fatima Payman storms social media as she becomes the first Hijabi Senator in the Australian Parliament. She is also Australia’s youngest senator at 27 years old.

She delivered her first speech to Parliament as a Senator, where she spoke about proudly wearing the hijab. She expressed gratitude to her family, including her late father, Abdul, which moved her to tears.

‘Who would have thought that a young woman born in Afghanistan and the daughter of a refugee would be standing in this chamber today? 

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.’

Credit: SBS News

Her journey to Senator was not a typical one.

Fatima arrived in Australia in 2003 when she was 8 years old after her family fled Afghanistan. Her father, Abdul Wakil Payman, came to Australia first in 1999, but was locked in immigration detention. When he was eventually released, he worked incredibly hard to bring his family with him.

Fatima’s intentions were to become a doctor, but she decided to get involved with politics instead. Despite being third on Labour’s Senate ticket, she scraped in due to a landslide Labour win.

Senator Payman said her surprise election, along with numerous other minority MPs, made Parliament more representative of ‘the true Australia‘.

‘Ten years ago would this parliament accept a woman [wearing] a hijab to be elected?’ she stated in her speech on Wednesday.

Her election was made even more powerful as Senator Pauline Hanson stormed out during the indigenous welcome.

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