A Liberal MP Has Denied Confusing Her Opposition With Another Asian-Australian Candidate

“My opponent either has me confused for a different Asian-Australian, or she is deliberately misleading people."

sally sitou fiona martin

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Federal Labor candidate for Reid Sally Sitou is calling for an apology from Liberal MP Fiona Martin, alleging that Martin either confused her with another Asian-Australian candidate or deliberately misled voters in a recent radio interview.

Both Sitou and Martin appeared on 2GB radio on Wednesday, resulting in a heated debate.

Throughout the debate, Martin questioned Sitou — raised in Cabramatta — on where she grew up. After some back and forth between the pair on where they were born, raised and chose to live now, the situation grew more heated.

Sitou is the only one of the pair to actually reside in the electorate currently, but Martin alleged that she only moved to the area because she “found an opportunity” and “couldn’t run in Fowler”. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to live in an electorate to run for that seat, which Martin would know because she does not live in Reid herself.

Martin falsely claimed that “Kristina Keneally kicked [Sitou] out of Fowler too”, in what appeared to be a reference to Keneally winning preselection for the seat of Fowler over Tu Le — a Vietnamese-Australian lawyer.

“Now she’s just making things up. That’s how ridiculous this debate has gotten and I’m really sorry that your listeners have had to listen to that,” Sitou replied.

Following the interview, Sitou took to Twitter to clarify that she has never sought to run in Fowler — stressing that her roots are in Reid.

“My opponent either has me confused for a different Asian-Australian, or she is deliberately misleading people,” she added. “Either way, she should apologise.”

Martin later denied the mistake, telling SBS that she was referring to Sitou running for the state seat.

“I was referring to media reports that Ms Sitou was in the running for the state seat of Cabramatta in 2018,” Dr Martin told SBS, neglecting to apologise for the incident.

Sitou then responded, expressing her disappointment in Martin’s lack of apology.

“I’m disappointed that Fiona Martin is doubling down on her accusations about me. Campaigns are stressful and she made a mistake. I’d just like her to apologise for mistaking me for a different person. The people of Reid deserve better than this,” she tweeted.

Martin holds the seat of Reid by a margin of 3.2 percent. However, Sitou has been tipped to win the seat in the upcoming election, according to betting odds (which should be taken with a grain of salt). Either way, the seat of Reid will be one to watch on May 21.