If everything goes according to plan, Mehreen Saeed Faruqi will be an impactful leader in Australia’s political stage. She was recently announced to take over the role as a Senator for New South Wales since 15 August 2018, representing the Greens in filling up the vacancy left by Lee Rhiannon. Prior to assuming the role of a Senator, she had previously served in the New South Wales Legislative Council between June 2013 and August 2018.
Why the spotlighthas been shown on a simple taking over of a senator role which has always occurred repetitively? Well, the maiden speech delivered by her as a Greens Senator in the Senate offered an upfront and blistering assessment of Australian politics today. No one would ever guess that the bold looking Australian of Pakistan origin would hold an engineer and academic degree prior to her involvement in politics and worked as a structural engineer. Well, normally people would applaud the fact that she was an engineer. But, the story does not stop there. She continues to pursue her studies in Australia after moving to the state with her husband and proceeded to obtain a doctorate in environmental engineering soon after. What an achievement for a lady from Pakistan, isn’t it?
Here is the fact that would further balloon the achievement aforementioned. Faruqi is Australia’s first female, Muslim Senator, and the 100th woman to sit in the Senate. Strong in character and solid in stance, she is determined to take on racism in politics, particularly following racist and inflammatory remarks made during a certain other maiden Senate speech. This is what Faruqi told the Senate: “It is with great pride I stand here before you, unapologetically. A brown, Muslim, migrant, feminist woman and a Greens Senator. We are subject to rules that white people never will. We don’t have the luxury of mistakes or of slipping up, because as soon as we do we became a case study of existing stereotypes. They are offended that people of colour, and Muslims, have the audacity to not only exist, but to open our mouths and join the public debate.”
In her quest as a Green Senator, Faruqi shared her opinion on the need to fight for environmental causes that includes saving the Great Barrier Reef while focusing on legislating policies that emphasize on gender equality like making punishment on companies compulsory that pay women less than men. She took this particular issue in a very serious manner after confessing that she was the recipient of thousands of sexist and racist messages during her time in the NSW Parliament and stressed such discrimination still exist in Australia which needs to be addressed to the grassroots level.
Faruqi showed her fighter spirit for equality not only in Australia but in the world as well. Sharing her story as a woman, migrant, muslim and mother on social media has indeed helped in sending out powerful message regarding what she’s done despite being told that she couldn’t or shouldn’t. This has in fact shown us her quality as be true to oneself and do what is right instead of falling victim to the society’s norm. We have much to learn from her, a symbolic figure that changes the landscape of Australian politics from a different perspective that promises a better future for the next generation.