Australia's first hijab-wearing senator breaks down in her speech in Parliament

06 Aug 2022 08:00am
 Australia's first hijab-wearing senator Fatima Payman. Photo source: Facebook
Australia's first hijab-wearing senator Fatima Payman. Photo source: Facebook
SHAH ALAM - Australia's first hijab-wearing senator Fatima Payman bawled her eyes out during her first speech at the Parliament while extending gratitude towards her late father who arrived in Australia as a refugee.

As quoted by Daily Mail, Fatima sobbed while talking about her family as to how her refugee dad fled the Taliban and worked three jobs to give her family a better life.

"Whose sacrifices will never be forgotten and who I dearly wish was here to see how far his little daughter has come.

"I'd like to thank my mum and my siblings who've joined us here today for their unwavering support, love, and patience.

'Who would have thought that a young woman born in Afghanistan and the daughter of a refugee would be standing in this chamber today,” she was quoted as saying.

She shared that her dad went through many hurdles as a taxi driver and security guard to ensure he saved up enough money to make ends meet and to support the family.

However, Fatima’s father, Abdul Wakil Payman never lived to see her become a senator, as he died from leukemia in 2018 aged 47.

"Ten years ago would this Parliament accept a woman [wearing] a hijab to be elected?' she asked in her speech on Wednesday.

'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.
You may also like:

"I want young girls who decide to wear the hijab to do it with pride, and to do it with the knowledge they have the right to wear it," she said.

Fatima added that she would not judge anyone for wearing boardies and flip flops across the street, "I don't expect people to judge me for wearing my scarf."

However, Pauline Hanson stormed out of the Senate chamber and yelled 'no, I won't and never will', before storming out of the chamber in a huff’.

Hanson was then called ‘ignorant and racist' for making such remarks while Senator Payman simply made a point of adding her own acknowledgement of the country to her speech as she celebrated Parliament's diversity.

“I would like to say I wish Pauline didn't do it because she has stolen my thunder, I could have been the first one.

“But that is OK, maybe I'll teach her how I wear my hijab,” she said.

She said this after Senator Hanson famously wore a niqab into the Senate before dramatically revealing herself and asked for burkas to be banned in Australia in 2017.

'I’m looking forward to meeting Pauline (Hanson),, she's got a story just like I do,” she said.

Payman, 27 is the youngest serving senator and the third youngest in Senate history after Mehreen Faruqi who is the first Australian Muslim senator.