New Greens senator reveals racist attacks

New Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has vowed to fight racism, calling out politicians for fostering a culture of division.

Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi

Australia's first female Muslim senator Mehreen Faruqi has lashed politicians for fanning division. (AAP)

Australia's first female Muslim senator has lashed politicians for fanning the flames of division, a week after a "racist" speech targeted her religion in parliament.

Pakistan-born Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi on Tuesday made her first speech to federal parliament, following Katter's Australian Party's Fraser Anning controversial address last week.

Senator Anning called for a ban on Muslim migration and praised the White Australia policy in a widely condemned speech which united parliamentarians against his views.

Senator Faruqi said it was good politicians condemned the "blatant racism", but couldn't be allowed to use the public solidarity to cover their role in fanning racial division.

"Political leaders, in addition to their old habit of racist dog-whistling, are now comfortable outright fanning the flames of racial conflict," Senator Faruqi told parliament.

"You can't condemn racism and then use dog-whistling and race-baiting as an electoral tactic."

Senator Faruqi spoke of receiving thousands of racist and sexist messages, as well as death threats levelled at her son Osman.

She took aim at the people who want her to "F off back to where I came from" with an Urdu phrase.

"Sorry, not sorry. This is my home and I'm not going anywhere," Senator Faruqi translated it as meaning.

Media and politicians encourage and normalise racism, she said, pointing to neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell's appearance on Sky News and the treatment of Melbourne's Sudanese population.

Senator Faruqi, who spent five years in the NSW upper house from 2013, replaced factional rival Lee Rhiannon in federal parliament.

She spoke of her pride in becoming the 100th woman to sit in the Senate before listing a range of the Greens' core issues including climate change, animal welfare and indigenous rights.

"It is people, not parliaments, who will lead the way in sparking our political imagination and creating radical change," Senator Faruqi said.

"We can build a future for each and every one of us. No matter where we come from. No matter the colour of our skin, our religion, our gender or sexuality, our bank balance or our postcode."

2 min read
Published 21 August 2018 at 5:58pm
Source: AAP