She said WHAT? Race row rocks the election campaign as a white Liberal MP confuses her rival candidate with a DIFFERENT Asian-Australian politician: ‘Do we all look alike to you?’
- Liberal MP Fiona Martin faced off with Labor’s Sally Sitou in fiery debate today
- Martin said Sitou was contesting seat of Reid because she’d lost Fowler seat
- Ms Sitou denied this and said she had never intended to run for Fowler
- She said Martin had confused her with another Asian-Australian politician
- Speculation has risen Martin was referring to Vietnamese-Australian Tu Le
A Liberal MP has appeared to confuse her rival Labor candidate with another Asian-Australian politician, sparking calls for her to apologise.
Liberal Member for Reid Fiona Martin faced off with Labor’s Sally Sitou during a fiery debate on 2GB Radio on Wednesday.
But things came to an embarrassing halt when Dr Martin accused Ms Sitou of contesting the seat of Reid because she’d been ‘kicked out’ of Fowler by Kristina Keneally.
A visibly confused Ms Sitou later clarified she’d never intended to run for Fowler, with many speculating Dr Martin was actually referring to Vietnamese-Australian Tu Le, who was fighting for preselection for the seat.
Dr Martin has since clarified she was referring to reports from 2018 that Ms Sitou was considered as a candidate for the NSW state seat of Cabramatta.
Liberal member for Reid Fiona Martin (left) accused Labor candidate Sally Sitou (right) of only running for the seat because she got ‘kicked out’ of Fowler
‘You found an opportunity and you couldn’t run in Fowler. Kristina Keneally kicked you out of Fowler too,’ Dr Martin said during the debate.
Ms Sitou, dumbfounded by the remark, then said: ‘Now she’s just making things up. That’s how ridiculous this debate has gotten. And I’m really sorry your listeners have had to listen to that.’
She later shared a tweet demanding Dr Martin apologise.
Ms Sitout took to Twitter to clarify she’d never intended to run for Fowler
The Labor candidate demanded Ms Martin apologise for her comments
‘Earlier today in a candidates’ debate, my opponent Fiona Martin accused me of having previously contested preselection in Fowler,’ she said.
‘I have never sought to run for Fowler. I live in Reid, my son goes to school in Reid, and I am excited by the opportunity to represent my community.
‘My opponent either has me confused for a different Asian-Australian, or she is deliberately misleading people. Either way, she should apologise.’
There have been more calls for Dr Martin to apologise with Ray Hadley also saying she needed to address the mishap.
One voter tweeted: ‘Did she confuse her with Tu Le as all Asians literally look alike to her? She must apologise immediately’.
Many speculated Dr Martin had confused Ms Sitou for Vietnamese-Australia Tu Le (pictured with Anthony Albanese)
Dr Martin told SBS News she was ‘referring to media reports that Ms Sitou was in the running for the state seat of Cabramatta in 2018’.
She also told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Sally is a failed state candidate for Cabramatta and she is now seat-shopping in Reid’.
The publication reported in June, 2018 that Ms Sitou was among a dozen people touted as a possible candidate for the seat of Cabramatta but she never ran.
Ms Sitou was born to Chinese parents who fled Laos following the Vietnam war.
Earlier in the debate Dr Martin asked where Ms Sitou lived.
When Ms Sitou answered she’d grown up in Cabramatta, Dr Martin shot back saying her childhood was in Reid.
The back and forth continued with Ms Sitou pointing out her Liberal rival now lives outside the Reid electorate while she lives in Homebush.
‘I grew up in Reid. I went to school at Five Dock and Strathfield … I’ve got deep roots in the electorate and I care very much,’ Dr Martin said.
Ms Sitou was announced as the candidate for Reid in October 2021, while Ms Keneally was confirmed as the candidate for Fowler in September.
Ms Le had looked set to represent the Labor stronghold of Fowler in Sydney’s west until Senator Keneally declared she wanted the seat for herself – even though she lives 44km away on an island on the wealthy Northern Beaches.
The 30-year-old migration lawyer wasn’t even told that she was being pushed aside and only found out when she saw reports in the media.
Ms Sitou was born to Chinese parents who fled Laos following the Vietnam war