SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

12 February 2019

ABC RADIO NATIONAL BREAKFAST

TOPIC: HAKEEM AL-ARAIBI

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

FRAN KELLY: The driving force of that international campaign to free Hakeem Alaraibi was the former captain of the Socceroos Craig Foster. Craig Foster welcome back to Breakfast. How good is this news?

CRAIG FOSTER: Well this is amazing but there were many driving forces. I might have been the one out front most public, I guess, because I have a bit of a platform. But some of the people working behind the scenes were just extraordinary.

There was a huge coalition of people right around the world and all of them, I wish they were here today to see Hakeem, as I will be this afternoon, here in Melbourne because they all deserve it. It was a really amazing effort.

KELLY: Craig I’ve got Senator Penny Wong sitting in the studio with me. She’s got to dash off but she wanted to say something I think?

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Craig, good on you. You’ve done a fantastic job. Thank you for all your work. It has just been wonderful.

FOSTER: Thank you Penny. I appreciate that. I know you and Bill were very vocal. This has been across all of the party lines and this was really important, Because Sarah (Hanson-Young) was very vocal and in the end the Government also did a really outstanding job.

So as we always say, human rights and protecting people who are vulnerable, and many of those are refugees like Hakeem, it’s apolitical so all of us need to make sure that we do that in Australia. We think we can improve our record and we have got work to do there and hopefully that is something to come out of this issue.

But, for now, we can just celebrate him coming home and when we see him reunited with his young wife, a young family now with hope for the future, it’s going to very special.

WONG: It will be a wonderful moment. I’m sure you will do this, but you should express on behalf of everybody, and I’m sure the whole Parliament, and certainly me personally, it is fantastic to have him back.

KELLY: Craig I will let Penny Wong get back to the other meeting she’s got.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.