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HomePoliticsAustralian Labor Party Suspends Senator Fatima Payman for Stance on Palestine

Australian Labor Party Suspends Senator Fatima Payman for Stance on Palestine

Australia’s Labor Party has indefinitely suspended Senator Fatima Payman for supporting the Green Party’s proposal to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

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Australia’s Labor Party has indefinitely suspended Senator Fatima Payman for supporting the Green Party’s proposal to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

According to a recent report by ABC News Australia, Payman’s backing of the efforts to recognise Palestine on 25 June sparked controversy within the Labor Party.

The party announced that Prime Minister and Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese, had indefinitely suspended Payman’s right to participate in the Labor’s caucus meetings.

Payman described crossing the floor in parliament as the “most difficult decision” she has had to make.

“Each step I took across the Senate floor felt like a mile, [but] I know I did not walk these steps by myself, and I know I did not walk them alone,” she told reporters.

“I’ve walked with the West Australians who have stopped me in the streets and told me not to give up. I’ve walked with the rank-and-file Labor Party members who told me we must do more. I’ve worked with the core values of the Labor Party – equality, justice, fairness and advocacy for the voiceless and the oppressed,” says Payman.

The Green’s proposal to recognise Palestine was rejected by the Senate for the second time on 25 June.

In 2022, Payman became Australia’s first hijab-wearing senator and was the only member of the Labor Party to support the recognition of Palestine, leading to her suspension from the party meeting as from the beginning of July.

The Labor Party requires all of its parliamentarians to support collective decisions or face the possibility of expulsion.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese indefinitely suspended Senator Payman from the federal Labor caucus last month after Payman said that she would continue to defy the party’s position on Palestinian recognition.

It comes after she crossed the floor last week to vote on a Greens motion which called on the Senate to recognise the state of Palestine.

The senator said she believed her position was consistent with Labor’s support for a two-state solution but abstained when Labor tried to amend the motion to call for recognition as part of a “just and enduring peace.”

In a statement provided to the ABC on Monday afternoon and subsequently posted on social media, Senator Payman said she had been “exiled”.

“I have lost all contact with my caucus colleagues. I have been removed from caucus meetings, committees, internal group chats, and whips [party organisational] bulletins. I have been told to avoid all chamber duties that require a vote including divisions, motions and matter of public interest…These actions led me to believe that some members are attempting to intimidate me into resigning from the Senate,” says Payman.

Note from the Editor: This featured has been edited from its original publication here.

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