Greens leader Cassy O’Connor has apologised for mistakenly claiming a Buddhist leader was behind an unpopular residential development.
GREENS leader Cassy O’Connor has apologised after wrongly claiming a local Buddhist leader was behind an unpopular Sandy Bay housing development.
Labor says the comment is an example of Ms O’Connor’s “bias against the Chinese”.
Ms O’Connor made the claims in a speech to parliament last week, mistaking Hobart’s Xin-De Wang for Victorian developer Hui Wang.
“There is a single developer who owns both lots of land with different companies and that is a person who everyone in this room will know who is very influential with local members of parliament and local government and that is Master Xin-De Wang,” she told parliament.
“This development is totally out of place for that part of Hobart. It is contrary to good planning. It has raised 123 objections.”
In fact, the developer is a Mr Hui Wang of Murrumbeena, Victoria and not the local Buddhist leader.
In a letter to MPs, the Tasmanian Chinese Buddhist Academy of Australia said the claims were untrue.
“Anyone who has conducted a basic fact-check will see that this is entirely false and unfounded,” the letter said.
“Neither Master Wang Xin De personally, nor anyone in our organisation, is associated with this development or the development companies. Hui Wang, although having the last name of Wang, is not Master Wang Xin De, nor are they a relative of Master Wang Xin De or a follower of Master Wang Xin De’s Buddhist organisation.”
Mr O’Connor on Tuesday apologised for her mistake.
“I am genuinely sorry about the mistake and will correct the Parliamentary record at the earliest opportunity.
“The developer, regrettably, has a very similar name to Master Wang, who also has substantial real estate holdings in and around Hobart.
“I raised the residents’ concerns, in good faith, on the basis of the information provided to me.
“I should have cross-checked the company documents, but didn’t make the time on a busy Parliamentary day.”
“The error will be corrected, and I’ll continue to work with local residents to stop this awful development.”
Labor member for Clark Ella Haddad said Ms O’Connor’s apology was not before time.
“It is entirely necessary that Cassy O’Connor has agreed to withdraw the statement, it was incorrect,” she said.
“However there’s a deeper issue here about her unconscious bias against the Chinese that seems to border on xenophobia.
“Ms O’Connor must realise that her words have serious and harmful impacts upon the broader Tasmanian Chinese community.”
DAVID KILLICK | The Mercury July 1, 2020 12:00am
Posted on The Mercury
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