A New Era of Muslim Representation in Australian Parliament

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The Australian Parliamentary system has undergone many changes since the 21st May 2022 Federal elections. For the first time in history, the Albanese Labor Government includes three Muslim ministers, including the first Hijab-wearing member in Australian Parliament. 

Muslim Women Australia was honoured to gift three Pink Quran to Minister for Industry and Science, Senator Ed Husic; Minster for Youth and Early Childhood Education, Dr Anne Aly; and Labor Senator Fatima Payman. CEO Hajeh Maha Abdo, who gifted the Pink Quran to the newly elected Ministers and Senator, stated that Muslims advocating for change by being a member of Parliament was “A symbol of hope”. During Dr Aly’s visit to our Lakemba head office in July, MWA was grateful to be part of a historic experience by gifting Dr Aly as well as Senator Payman Quran’s for their individual Swearing-in ceremony. Dr Aly discussed her experiences growing up in Western Sydney to the MWA team, resonating with and leaving a mark on the hearts of the entire team. 

Ed Husic and Dr Aly, who is the first Muslim woman Minister in Australian history, showcases a symbol of courage and true representation of Australian society. The significance of this recognition in Australian Parliament for Muslims is paramount, paving the way for future Muslim men and women participating in politics and implementing change on a government level. With the rising population of Muslims in Australia (3.2% of the population with an increase of 0.8% since 2016), greater representation is needed for the Muslim community on a political level. If we want to see the change, we have to be the change. Through Ed Husic, Dr Anne Aly and Fatima Payman, Australian Muslims are being represented on a federal level, providing high visibility to Muslims in Australian society.  

This is a significant development from 2018, when Dr Mehreen Faruqi became Australia’s first Muslim senator, when she joined the Senate, after joining NSW State Parliament in 2013, and becoming the first Muslim woman to sit in any Australian parliament. 

The cornerstone of Australian politics is exemplified through newly elected Senator Fatima Payman. Donned in a beautiful pink tailored suit, Senator Payman walked into her Swearing in ceremony holding a pink Quran gifted by MWA. Besides being the youngest member of he 47th Parliament, Senator Fatima Payman is the first hijab-wearing Senator in Australian history. Senator Payman showcases a true representation of Australia’s diverse and multicultural community. In her first address to the Senate, Senator Payman encourages young Muslim women to be comfortable enough to wear the hijab as she mentions in her speech, “Know that the hijab is my choice… I want young girls who decide to wear the hijab, to do it with pride… I don’t expect people to judge me for wearing my scarf.” 

Senator Payman’s speech was a historic moment in Australian history and a significant moment for not only Muslims in Australia, but all over the world. Having a young visibly Muslim woman showcasing through her Hijab in a position of importance, provides a sense of hope to other young Muslim women that for them too, they can also create a difference. Payman’s youth, intelligence and passion is evident through her interviews and speeches. Senator Payman’s moving speech also resonates with other Muslim women and serves as a role model to young Muslim women who get to grow up in a society where a woman from a culturally and linguistically diverse background is lobbying for change on behalf of them.  

A new era of Muslim representation in Australian Parliament has arrived and hoping to stay, God Willing.  

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