Liberal MP Fiona Martin Denies Mixing Up Two Asian Australian Candidates During Debate

Labor candidate Sally Sitou is asking Liberal MP Fiona Martin for an apology, claiming that Martin has either confused her with another Asian Australian candidate or intentionally misled voters.

Sitou and Martin are going head to head for the seat of Reid, currently held by Martin and the Liberal party.

During a heated debate between Sitou and Martin on 2GB, Sitou asked Martin where she currently lives. After saying that she “grew up in Reid,” Martin conceded that she doesn’t currently live in Reid.

She said that she rents “very close by,” as per The Guardian.

In response, Sitou said she “didn’t want to raise this but I chose to live in the electorate because I love the community”.

This exchange appeared to strike a nerve with Martin. She claimed that Sitou was only running in Reid because she “found an opportunity and you couldn’t run in Fowler.”

Fowler is a nearby NSW electorate currently held by outgoing Labor MP Chris Hayes.

Martin said, “Kristina Keneally kicked you out of Fowler too.”

Kristina Keneally is Labor frontbencher, currently the Labor candidate for Fowler. Last year, Vietnamese Australian lawyer Tu Le lost out to Keneally in a preselection battle for the seat after sitting MP Chris Hayes announced his retirement.

After the debate, Sitou tweeted that she has “never sought to run for Fowler.”

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

In a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald, Martin doubled down, saying “Sally is a failed state candidate for Cabramatta and she is now seat-shopping in Reid.”

She also made reference to a SMH article from 2018 that noted Sitou as a potential replacement candidate for Cabramatta Labor MP Nick Lachich if he retired.

Sitou has noted Martin’s comments on the situation, tweeting: “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.” she added.

Martin has not yet responded to this statement from Sitou.