Fatima Payman, 27, made history last week when she was elected as Australia’s first senator to wear a hijab.
When Payman thanked her father for his sacrifices—who entered Australia as an Afghan immigrant and passed away in 2018—a few minutes into her first statement in Parliament, she started to cry.
Who would have imagined that today a young woman from Afghanistan and the daughter of a refugee would be present in this chamber? Paidman stated.
“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.”
When Payman, her mother, and her three younger siblings travelled to Australia in 2003, she was eight years old.
She went to university to become a doctor and attended the Australian Islamic College in Perth, but ended up getting active in politics.
Payman’s father, who sadly did not live to see her become a senator, passed away from leukaemia in 2018 at the age of 47.
Concerns about her wearing a hijab were also addressed, and she emphasised that 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.”