NEW SOUTH WALES – Mehreen Faruqi has become Australia’s first Muslim woman senator after being appointed to fill a vacant seat on Wednesday, August 15.
The Greens Party politician, who was born in Pakistan, told the BBC that Australia’s future would be “stronger for our diversity.”
She added that she would use her new role as senator to fight for a “positive future for Australia.”
Faruqi said she was excited to bring “much-needed diversity” to Canberra, and hoped her presence would encourage non-white Australians.
“The reality is our federal parliament doesn’t look anything like the streets and suburbs of Australia. Slowly but surely things are changing.”
Faruqi migrated from Pakistan to Australia in 1992 with her young family. Prior to entering politics, she held a distinguished career as an academic and has a doctorate in environmental engineering.
Her election to the state parliament in 2013 made her the first Muslim woman to attain any political office in Australia.
Faruqi has also taken a strong stance against recent incidents of racism in Australia. She remarked that overt displays of racism are not isolated incidents.