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Fatima Payman becomes Australia’s first hijabi senator

Fatima Payman, 27, made history this week by becoming Australia’s first hijab-wearing senator.Payman, who arrived in Australia as an Afghan refugee and died in 2018, broke down a few minutes into her debut statement in Parliament as she thanked her father for his sacrifices.

“Who would have guessed that a young woman born in Afghanistan and the daughter of a refugee would be here today?” Payman stated.

“Knowing the sacrifices my father made as a cab driver and security guard to guarantee he saved enough money to make ends meet, support his family, and ensure my brothers and I had the future he couldn’t achieve for himself.”

Payman arrived in Australia with her mother and three younger siblings when she was eight years old.She went to university to become a doctor after attending Australian Islamic College in Perth, but she became active in politics instead.

Payman’s father, who died of leukaemia in 2018 at the age of 47, did not live to see her become a senator.She also addressed questions about her hijab, emphasising that she chose to wear it.

“Those who prefer to counsel me on what I should wear or rate my competency based on my external experience should be aware that the hijab is my decision,” Payman explained. “I am youthful, progressive, and my family was born in another country – I am a symbol of modern Australia.