Australia

‘I’d like to get to know her more’: Fatima Payman open to Pauline Hanson meeting over Muslim views

Newly elected Labor Senator Fatima Payman says she wants “to get to know” One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson to better understand her views on Islam and Muslims in Australia.

Senator Payman – a 27-year-old former refugee from Afghanistan – is the first Afghan-Australian and the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman in parliament.

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Speaking with ABC radio, she was asked about Senator Hanson’s provocative stunt to wear a burqa in Australia’s Senate as part of her calls to ban the garment worn by some Muslims.
Senator Payman said she believed Australia had come “very far” since the 2017 incident.
“In terms of Senator Hanson’s stunt, I think I’d like to get to know her more so I’m really looking forward to that,” the Western Australian senator said.
Asked if she intended to approach her to discuss these issues, Senator Payman replied: “For sure, I’m a big believer [that] everyone has their own story.”
“I want to know what are some experiences she may have had – that shaped her viewpoint of Islam and Muslims in Australia,” she said.

“All you need to do is go in with an open mind and get to know each other.”

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SBS News contacted Senator Hanson for a response to Senator Payman’s offer, but she declined to comment.
In August 2017, Senator Hanson was wearing a burqa as part of her attempts to ban the burqa.

In her maiden speech to the Senate, she said Australia was at risk of being “swamped by Muslims” telling who “bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own”.

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She has also previously called for a ban on Muslim immigration and told those unwilling to “become Australian” to “go back to where you came from”.

In other controversial comments made in March 2017, she described the Islamic faith as a “disease” that “we need to vaccinate ourselves against”.

New MPs arrive in Canberra

Newly elected members of Australia’s lower house on Tuesday gathered in the nation’s capital for a crash course on parliamentary life.
The new arrivals will be introduced to their parliamentary roles by Speaker of the House Andrew Wallace during a two-day seminar.
They will learn about the expectations of MPs, parliamentary systems and procedures and how to navigate the 75,000 square metre office that is Parliament House.

Independent MP Dai Le – who recently won the western Sydney seat of Fowler – said it felt “surreal” to be joining the parliament.

A woman smiling

Independent MP Dai Le. Source: AAP / DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGE

“Walking in there, walking into your office and then getting to know the speakers, the clerk and all of the people that make parliament work,” she told SBS News.

Ms Le has become one of the new crossbenchers, which include six independents and three Greens, after a wave of teal independents were elected.

“It is great to meet all the other independents we’ve only been communicating via messages so it’s great to put names to faces,” she said.

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