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Muslim Senator Fatima Payman To Leave Labor Party

ADH Staff WriterJuly 4, 2024

Rebel senator Fatima Payman is poised to leave the Labor Party as early as Thursday to join the crossbench with support from Muslim groups, raising concerns about sectarianism in politics.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged Senator Payman’s decision, noting it was made independently. “Senator Payman, of course, has made a decision to place herself outside the Labor Party, that is a decision that she made,” Mr Albanese said. “I expect further announcements in the coming days. Which will explain exactly what the strategy has been now, [for] more than a month.”

Labor sources believe Senator Payman is being influenced by radical elements within the Muslim community, who view her position as a means to simplify the formation of a political party.

“It’s a totally cynical manipulation of a young Muslim woman,” commented a senior government source, as reported by The Australian Financial Review.

Sydney-based barrister Mahmud Hawila, representing The Muslim Vote, blamed Mr Albanese for suspending Senator Payman. “What he’s done, unbeknown to him, is firmed up and consolidated support not just for Payman but the resolute conviction to get rid of Labor in these seats,” he said.

Hawila suggested that the movement has gained significant momentum, with former Labor members joining the cause.

Former Department of Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo expressed concern about the rise of religious-based parties, warning it could lead to democratic fragmentation.

Liberal MP Dave Sharma echoed these sentiments, fearing the impact on political culture. “I worry about what it would do to our political culture,” he said, suggesting other religious groups might follow suit.

The Muslim Vote organization, well-established in the UK, aims to influence Australian politics. It lists key Labor seats with significant Muslim populations and rates MPs on their support for Palestine and their stance on the International Court of Justice case against Israel.

While the organization claims not to be a political party, it plans to run candidates in seats with large Muslim populations, including those held by cabinet ministers Tony Burke and Jason Clare.

Prime Minister Albanese defended Labor’s position on Palestine and emphasized the need for a lasting peace. He criticized the Greens for their stunts, stating that peace would not be achieved through Senate resolutions or desecrating war memorials.

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