An Australian lawmaker has landed himself in controversy after saying that drivers of Asian descent have "no comprehension" of road rules and prescribing a driving test for foreigners wanting to drive in the country.
Liberal National Party MP for Gregory and parliamentary chief whip Vaughan Johnson courted controversy for his remarks that driving rules in Australia were different to other countries and some foreign drivers, particularly those of Asian descent, did not understand the road rules.
"I notice a lot of our foreign visitors to this country have no understanding at all of the conditions of the roads that they drive, on the distances they drive and what lays ahead," he told Fairfax Radio today.
Johnson went further and said that many Asian drivers do not understand road rules in their own countries.
"I am not against Asian people, do not get me wrong – but a lot of those Asian people come from an environment where they have no comprehension of road rules in their own country," he said.
Though, later in the day Johnson admitted he did not have any figures to back up his claims and issued a letter of apology, saying he was not against Asian people.
"I apologise for any offence caused by my recent comments regarding foreign drivers on Queensland roads. I wanted to convey that all drivers in Queensland must take care on the roads. I regret the way in which I expressed my concerns and acknowledge my comments were inappropriate," the letter read.
Johnson's apology came just hours after Premier Campbell Newman publicly chastised him for his comments, saying, "I do not agree with his comments and I reject them. I believe he understands that he went a little bit too far."
Notably, Johnson, who has been campaigning for a driving and road rules test for foreigners wanting to drive in Queensland, had also created controversy in November 2009 when he spoke in parliament of his concerns regarding foreign-born taxi drivers, commenting "they all look the same".
Asians don't have roads, period, let alone rules... They leap frogged into the 21st century with neither.