Dai Le, Vietnamese refugee MP for Fowler, is slammed on Twitter by Paul Bongiorno
A Covid-obsessed left-wing political commentator has torn up newly elected independent MP Dai Le for the traditional Vietnamese dress printed with the Australian flag she wore in her maiden speech.
While the response to Ms Le’s fashion statement has been mostly positive, former Channel 10 political editor Paul Bongiorno found her dress and parts of her maiden speech Tuesday ‘simply appalling’.
Independent Dai Le covers a heartbreaking maiden speech about refugee survival by carrying an Australian flag and ending (sic) lock-downs for communist oppression. Just horrible,” he tweeted.
Dai Le (pictured) wore a dress that spoke louder than words during her maiden speech – causing her to be attacked by political commentator Paul Bongiorno
However, his views were quickly refuted by Twitter users who came to Ms Le’s defense.
‘Wearing her traditional’ ao da and giving respect to our country for taking in her family and offering a new life is a show of respect. It was a great maiden speech,” said one tweeter.
“The only thing that is appalling here is your attitude towards this country and those who love it,” said another.
Veteran political journalist Paul Bongiorno (pictured) criticized the independent MP on Twitter, saying her first speech was “marred” by her fashion
Speaking with radio 3AW morning host Neil Mitchell, Ms Le shrugged off criticism, saying the dress was a tribute to her heritage and her love for Australia.
“I am a proud Australian of Vietnamese descent and thought it was such a momentous opportunity to speak on behalf of my community that I wanted to share how proud I am as an Australian,” she said.
“There are people attacking me, it’s a Vietnamese traditional costume in an Australian flag and I’m sure we’ve seen the Australian flag in many things and many forms and I wanted to share my story.”
When asked whether she felt that wearing the dress was disrespectful, Ms. Le stood by her decision.
He took the swipe at the newly elected MP on social media
“I don’t think it’s disrespectful, in fact it’s the opposite, it’s actually showing respect to Australia,” she said.
“I just wore it in the house, at the people’s house, I don’t think I did anything out of respect.”
Ms Le described the flag as a second life for her family after they were forced to flee Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in April 1975.
Ms Le (pictured) disputed the criticism, saying her decision represented her love for Australia
“Australia means so much to me that it’s about… it’s my home,” she said.
During her speech on Monday, Ms Le spoke of the harrowing journey she and her family had made on their journey to Australia.
“I remember running with my mother and two younger sisters, scrambling to get on a boat and pushing through the screams and screams of women and children. I had no idea what was going on,” she said.
The Fowler member wore the dress during her maiden speech in which she spoke about the harrowing journey she and her family made when they fled Vietnam
“All I can remember are the screams, the panic, the chaos and the one moment on the boat when I turned to look back at my homeland to try to understand what was going on and I just saw but great black smoke in the distance.
“I remember the moment I thought we would die if a big storm hit our boat.”
Ms Le made history in May’s election when she defeated Labor candidate, former Senator Kristina Keneally, to win Fowler’s seat in Sydney’s south-west.
Ms Le received a standing ovation and admiration from her colleagues after her rousing speech in parliament on Monday
Previously a safe Labor seat, Fowler was held for 12 years by Labor MP Chris Hayes by a significant margin until his retirement in 2022.
After her rousing maiden speech, a huge crowd in the gallery gave her a standing ovation, including many Vietnamese heritage in traditional dress, and chanted her name.
A long line of MPs, including opposition leader Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, formed to congratulate her.