Fatima Payman says she’s been ‘exiled’ and is ‘reflecting on future’ within Labor

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul2,2024
Labor senator Fatima Payman says she will abstain from voting in the Senate and use the time to reflect on her future, adding that the prime minister’s decision to indefinitely suspend her from the Labor party caucus has left her “exiled”.

On Monday, Anthony Albanese said the West Australian senator “undermined” the collective position of the Labor Party when she vowed to continue crossing the floor of parliament in support of Palestinian statehood in an interview on Sunday.

Payman issued a statement on Monday afternoon shortly after Question Time addressing the suspension, saying it has led to her losing “all contact” with caucus colleagues.
She said she has been removed from caucus meetings, committees, internal group chats, and whips bulletins, and has been told to avoid all chamber duties that require a vote including divisions, motions and matters of public interest.
“I have been exiled,” Payman said.
“These actions lead me to believe that some members are attempting to intimidate me into resigning from the Senate.
“As a result, I will abstain from voting on Senate matters for the remainder of the week, unless a matter of conscience arises where I’ll uphold the true values and principles of the Labor Party.

“I will use this time to reflect on my future and the best way to represent the people of Western Australia.”

Payman’s actions “an indulgence”: PM

last week when she voted in support of a Greens motion to recognise a Palestinian state.
She has ruled out quitting the party, saying her vote was consistent with Labor’s core principles.
Albanese, who had previously banned the senator from a single party room meeting, suspended her from the caucus altogether as a government spokesperson accused her of “placing herself outside the privilege” of the party.
On Monday, Albanese said the interview had disrupted the government’s message about , describing Payman’s decision as “actions of an individual which is designed to undermine what is the collective position that the Labor Party has determined”.
“No individual is bigger than the team and Fatima Payman is welcome to return to participating in the team if she accepts she’s a member of it,” Albanese told ABC radio.
“We have a process where people participate, respect each other and people don’t engage in indulgences such as the decision last week.”
He said the was “counterproductive” and “not designed to assist Palestinians in Gaza”, or advance the peace process.

What is the Labor caucus?

‘Caucus’ is the collective term to describe the parliamentary Labor party — in other words, the Labor members in parliament.
The caucus has its own rules for electing party leaders in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It elects members to serve in the cabinet and the ministry, but the prime minister allocates individual portfolios.

“The party to me, rank-and-file members, are unionists, are phone bankers, door knockers, lifelong members of the party who put together the platform,” Payman said.

“The decisions the caucus makes, obviously, are up to them, but I do not intend on leaving the party because I firmly believe I’ve upheld all the values of what we as the Labor Party should stand for.”

What is the Labor policy on recognising Palestinian statehood?

specifically calls on Australia to recognise a Palestinian state and expects the issue to be an important priority for the government.
This was determined in Labor’s national conference last August, which was attended by Labor’s federal, state and territory leaders and parliamentarians, union members, party members and supporters.
Labor’s policy platform includes recognition of a Palestinian state as part of a negotiated peace process and has no timeline attached.
A group of women stand together

Labor Senator Fatima Payman is embraced by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek during the swearing in ceremony of Governor-General of Australia Sam Mostyn in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra 1 July, 2024. Source: AAP / aap

Labor in the Senate tried to make an amendment to the Greens’ motion last week, which would have added the suffix, “as a part of a peace process in support of a two-state solution and a just and enduring peace” to the push to recognise a Palestinian state, but it was voted down.

Labor minister Anne Aly said her fellow Muslim and WA colleague could have voted for that instead.
“Had things been different, we may well have seen the recognition of Palestine in the Senate,” Aly said.

Former Labor pollster Kos Samaras, a director of the political consulting agency RedBridge Group, said Labor faced alienating a demographic of young, diverse Australians if it expelled her from the party.

Muslim groups back Payman, criticise Labor

The nation’s peak Islamic bodies issued a joint statement in support of Payman on Monday, describing her actions as a “courageous stance” for justice and “the right thing to do”.
The statement from 35 Australian Muslim groups, including the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Australian National Imams Council, Muslim Legal Network and Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, said Payman’s actions represented “the views of millions of fellow Australians”.
The collective said Labor “must echo the voices of the people it represents”.

“This fundamental principle of representation has been abandoned in an effort to protect their positions. Party politics has clearly been allowed to dominate the voices of the people,” the statement said.

“The reprimand and targeting of senator Fatima Payman by the prime minister is a desperate attempt to save face for failing to decisively speak against genocide and the killing of more than 40,000 Palestinians.
“Political calculations and attempts to walk both sides have devastating consequences in Palestine and will ultimately end in failure.

Additional reporting by the Australian Associated Press.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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