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Meet The First Muslim Woman To Be Elected To Australia's Federal Parliament

“Everything I’ve ever achieved I’ve done through doing the hard yards."

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Labor's Anne Aly, a deradicalisation expert, has taken out the marginal seat of Cowan in Western Australia.

Mick Tsikas / AAP

Aly told BuzzFeed News she has received hundreds of messages from Australians thanking her for diversifying the nation's parliament.

"They wanted to see a Muslim woman get up in parliament because it means so much to them and their children," she said. "It's touched my heart."

But she has also been told disturbing stories about voters who didn't want her to win because "she's not from this country".

Egyptian-born Aly said she hadn't received comments like that since she was a kid.

Anne Aly's win is the biggest story of election. Libs played race card and lost. Lesson: voters don't want main parties playing this game.

"It really drove home to me just how important it is to be out there as a parliamentarian, not just for those young people who have a different skin colour or who are Muslim but for those young people who think that people who were born elsewhere aren't Australian and don't deserve to be on equal political footing."

Ali believes Australia needs diversity in parliament now more than ever, as the right-wing Pauline Hanson and as many as two of her One Nation candidates are tipped to enter the senate.

Greg Wood / AFP / Getty Images

“We really need to have a debate that is robust, informed and respectful,” she said.

But Aly laughed off suggestions she was Hanson’s “worst nightmare”.

“I think being taken out for a halal snack pack with [Labor senator] Sam Dastyari is probably her worst nightmare.”

Aly said the race for Cowan "could not have been between two more chalk and cheese candidates".

Rebecca Le May / AAP

"I am quite progressive, I have a background in social policy, I have a background as a professor," she said.

The former member, Liberal Luke Simpkins, "projects himself as a military man, very conservative and his closes allies in parliament are all part of that [George] Christensen and [Cory] Bernardi bunch," she said.

Aly said she would like to see her expertise in countering violent extremism "built up over the last decade and a half" to be put to good use in parliament.

Congrats Anne Aly for her win in Cowan. A great new voice for her community, her state & our party. Elected despite the disgraceful smears.

"I've got experience in Australia and I've travelled quite extensively around the world working with different organisations in that space," said Aly, who in 2013 founded People against Violent Extremism.

She said her "first priority" was to represent the people of her electorate but Aly admitted she'll also be joining Twitter while she gets her head around the "ins and outs" of parliament.

Rebecca Le May / AAP

"I do want to have a social media strategy so I'll be an avid tweeter, hopefully."

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at

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