Dr Mehreen Faruqi is just what Australian politics needs right now.
She’s replacing Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon in the Senate, becoming Australia’s first female Muslim senator.
Her appointment comes on the same day that politicians of all sides widely and emotionally condemned racist remarks made by Senator Fraser Anning earlier this week.
And Faruqi has her sights firmly set on Anning, and is determined to take him on.
In an opinion piece for Junkee, she wrote, “I’m a Muslim migrant, I’m about to be a Senator and there’s not a damn thing Fraser Anning can do about it.”
New job. Let’s get to work! https://t.co/bchzcAP3qC
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) August 15, 2018
She said that as “kooky” as Anning’s ideas are, it’s depressing to see this level of dangerous fringe politics making its way into Parliament.
“And make no mistake, this is not an isolated incident,” she wrote. “With increasing regularity, politicians treat race-baiting as an avenue to votes and the media compete to monetise hate. It’s a classic Racism 101 to distract people from the damage neoliberalism does to our society.”
— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) August 15, 2018
She added that if Senator Anning wants to learn about the value of multicultural Australia, that he knows where to find her.
Faruqi arrived in Australia in 1992 from Pakistan with her young family. She has a PhD in environmental engineering and has worked as both an academic and an engineer on major infrastructure projects.
She joined the NSW Legislature Council in June 2013, becoming the first Muslim woman elected to any Parliament in Australia.
Addressing the NSW Upper House last night, she said that for the past five years she has been subjected to “toxic, racist and sexist trolling.”
“No matter how much I brush it aside, it does take its toll,” she said.
She added that she is troubled that “ordinary citizens in a democratic society feel disempowered to pursue political positions” but that she’s excited to bring some much-needed diversity to Canberra.
Amongst other things, Mehreen Faruqi has been a tireless pro-choice fighter in NSW parliament & is a great addition to the Fed Senate. https://t.co/LBTSGGLacv
— Pauline Pantsdown (@PPantsdown) August 15, 2018
Lee Rhiannon announced her retirement as a Greens senator earlier this year, but said at the time that she was “not resigning from politics”.
Faruqi will be sworn in next week,