'Just plain wrong': NSW premier calls out racist remark
"Racist" comments by former multiculturalism minister Mark Coure directed towards a rookie MP were "just plain wrong", NSW Premier Chris Minns says.
As newly elected MP Tri Vo rose to ask a question in the parliament on Wednesday, Mr Coure made a remark implying the Cabramatta MP of Vietnamese heritage was a service worker.
Women's Minister Jodie Harrison told the parliament shortly after that Mr Coure had "made an offensive racist comment", and asked that it be withdrawn.
Mr Minns called for Mr Coure to apologise.
"I thought that (the comments) were just plain wrong and it is important that he apologise for it," the premier told reporters on Thursday.
Mr Coure, who held the multiculturalism portfolio in the Perrottet government, later apologised to the parliament and Mr Vo, saying it was a "poor attempt at humour".
Mr Minns pointed out Mr Vo had just been elected, saying "he's got every right to be respected by members of parliament".
He was the first person of Vietnamese heritage to be elected to the Legislative Assembly and had "a major contribution to make", the premier said.
The big Vietnamese community in NSW had been "active and wonderful citizens" for a very long time.
"I'm not going to focus on what Mr Coure said, I'm going to celebrate Tri's election," Mr Minns said.
Mr Vo issued a statement on Wednesday saying Mr Coure's comments were in poor taste.
"But that's not going to deter me from doing my job and representing my community of Cabramatta," he said.
"That's what I intend to do - continue to be a strong voice and advocate."