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Labor pick candidate for key election seat

Labor has named a first generation Australian as its candidate to reclaim a key western Sydney seat at the next federal election.

Sally Sitou, the daughter of Chinese parents who fled Laos after the Vietnam war, has been picked to fly the Labor flag in Reid at the ballot box in 2022.

The seat has been held by the Liberals since 2013, but before then was under Labor control for more than 50 years.

First-term MP Fiona Martin retained the seat for the coalition by 3.2 per cent in 2019, despite a 1.5 per cent swing to Labor after the retirement of Malcolm Turnbull loyalist Craig Laundy.

Ms Sitou is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sydney Business School where she focuses on the finance industry and strengthening leadership in the sector through empowering more women and people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Homebush local is an exceptional candidate.

“Sally knows what matters to the working families of Reid and she will work hard every day to elect a Labor government focused on affordable housing and childcare, a stronger Medicare, quality aged care and cheaper power bills,” he said in a statement.

It follows the party coming under fire last month for parachuting senator and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally into the safe lower house seat of Fowler in southwest Sydney.

Retiring Fowler MP Chris Hayes backed local lawyer Tu Le to replace him but was overruled by the NSW Labor Party.

Ms Le, who has Vietnamese heritage, said the “debacle” highlighted a lack of diversity in politics.

Meanwhile, corporate litigator Georgia Steele has announced she will run against Liberal defector Craig Kelly as an independent candidate in the southern Sydney seat of Hughes.

The mother-of-two and Como local launched her candidacy on Saturday and will campaign on progressive platforms such as urgent climate change action and integrity in politics.

She is concerned about COVID-19 misinformation spread by sitting Hughes MP Craig Kelly, who further reduced the Morrison government’s slim majority after moving to the backbench before joining Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, and said the Liberals had “abandoned” locals.

“They gave us Craig Kelly and refused to speak out against his dangerous rhetoric when we most needed them to show leadership,” Ms Steele said.

While voters could be sent to the polls this year, May 21 is the last possible date for a regular election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has consistently said the election will be held next year.

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