Fatima Payman suspended from Labor caucus over vow to cross the floor again on Palestine

A party spokesperson stated that the WA senator “has placed herself outside the privilege” of participating in caucus following her defiant TV interview.

After being called to a meeting with the prime minister at the Lodge on Sunday, WA Labor senator Fatima Payman was suspended indefinitely from the Labor party’s parliamentary caucus.

After Payman promised in a Sunday morning television interview that she was ready to carry out last week’s rebellion and cross the Senate floor in favor of the recognition of a Palestinian state, her initial one-week caucus ban was upgraded.

Senator Payman’s disregard for both private and public warnings to uphold the party’s rules and adhere to its positions—following what many considered a lenient penalty for an action that could lead to expulsion—led to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese losing patience with the first-term senator from his own left faction.

“If Senator Payman chooses to respect the caucus and her Labor colleagues, she can return. However, until then, she is suspended from the right to participate in federal parliamentary Labor Party caucus meetings and processes,” the spokesperson stated.

Her statements infuriated the Labor leadership, which had planned for Sunday’s political focus to be on the government’s cost-of-living measures which roll out from Monday, including tax cuts, energy rebates, a minimum wage rise and extra paid parental leave.

The senator spoke after the Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, warned that she only had the privilege of serving in parliament because of the Labor party and that caucus had the power to act against her.

“I cannot overemphasise enough how important all of us who are members of the team regard the obligations of being a member of the team in terms of the way in which we behave,” Marles told ABC host David Speers.

But Payman doubled down. She said she respects Anthony Albanese and other senior colleagues, some of whom were urging her to abide by party rules, but said she would not retreat.