Australian Senator Fatima Payman suspended from Labor Party caucus

SYDNEY, Australia — Fatima Payman, an Australian senator, announced that she has been “indefinitely” suspended from the Australian Labor Party caucus by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Payman stated that she has “lost all contact with” her caucus colleagues following the suspension. “I have been exiled,” she said. “I have been removed from caucus meetings, committees, internal group chats, and whips bulletins.”

The Afghan-born Australian senator revealed that she has been instructed to avoid all “chamber duties that require voting.” She expressed concern that some members might be attempting to intimidate her into resigning from the Senate.

Payman also disclosed that she would abstain from voting on Senate matters for the remainder of the week unless a matter of conscience arose, in which case she would “uphold the true values and principles of the Labor Party.”

According to The Guardian, Prime Minister Albanese suspended Payman after she stated in an interview with ABC’s Insider that she would cross the floor again if faced with another Senate motion to recognize the state of Palestine. Payman has voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Her suspension has sparked strong reactions, particularly from Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who condemned Labor’s actions. Faruqi criticized the party for “shamefully sanctioning” Payman and suggested that Labor should instead focus its efforts on addressing the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.