In a blow for Labor, former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has lost the seat of Fowler to independent candidate and Fairfield deputy mayor Dai Le.
This was Keneally’s first time running in the federal House of Representatives after a career in state politics and years in the federal senate and it’s been a rocky ride.
Labor parachuted Keneally, who lives in the Northern Beaches, in late to replace Labor MP Chris Hayes who held the seat but was retiring. She was picked in favour of a local woman of colour, Tu Le, which people were not happy about.
Fowler is an electorate with one of the most multicultural populations in the country, and an area where there are more people who identify as culturally Vietnamese (16 per cent) than Australian (8 per cent), according to Census data. It includes Cabramatta, Fairfield, and Liverpool and is famously a Labor leaning seat with a 14 per cent margin.
Keneally confirmed earlier this year she would move from Sydney’s north to south-west to run as the preselected candidate for the safe Labor seat after ALP branch members urged her to.
At the time Tu Le spoke out about how local members of Fowler had been “punished for speaking English as a second or third language” and how the area has been “painted as the villain of the NSW COVID fable” during the 2021 outbreak.
Needless to say people were pissed that Keneally took her place, including the seat’s outgoing MP, and people are stoked to see Dai Le as winner.
It was a tight race for the safe Labor seat but Dai Le said her connection to the community was key to her success.
— Paul Brescia (@pwbrescia) May 21, 2022
The seat Fowler was in the news very recently too when another Liberal MP Fiona Martin who was running for the nearby seat of Reid appeared to confuse her competitor Labor MP Sally Sitou with Tu Le.
Martin told Sitou, who is also an Asian-Australian, “Kristina Keneally kicked you out of Fowler too.” Um, incorrect.
For a big ol’ recap of the entire night’s events, you can read back through our live blog here.
For Anthony Albanese’s celebration speech, suss this link.
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