SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

3 February 2017

ABC THE WORLD TODAY WITH NAOMI WOODLEY

TOPICS: DONALD TRUMP PHONE CALL WITH MALCOLM TURNBULL, US ALLIANCE, US REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT DEAL, VISIT TO THE US WITH PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

NAOMI WOODLEY: Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong says Donald Trump’s tweets and the leaked details of the phone call don’t necessarily accord with Malcolm Turnbull’s view.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: I think it is very difficult to now accept what Mr Turnbull or his media staff tell people was actually occurring during the phone call given he was quite definitive earlier in the week about what was agreed. And that version of events appears, from the reports, to have not been correct.

WOODLEY: Well Malcolm Turnbull says he is acting in Australia’s interests and he says he still maintains the President told him this deal would be honoured. Do you have doubts about that?

WONG: I think the reports today and yesterday, here in Washington, including what appears to have been backgrounded to a journalist, don’t appear to accord with Mr Turnbull’s version of what’s occurred. I do think he needs to explain to Australians how it is what he says is true, if the President has tweeted what he has tweeted.

WOODLEY: Senator Wong has been in the United States this week as part of a bipartisan delegation meeting security and intelligence officials.

WONG: Well, certainly Australia has been in the press here, much more than we usually are. The story about the telephone call and the President’s tweet has obviously been the centre of attention, so, it has been unusual. But we have been meeting with Americans from a range of institutions and organisations, including the FBI and the CIA and the Pentagon. And what I would say is despite this controversy there are a lot of layers to this relationship.

WOODLEY: Australia’s ambassador to the United States has always been a busy job but it appears Joe Hockey’s life is about to get even busier. He visited the White House today for a meeting with the President’s Chief Of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Labor’s Penny Wong says the meeting is a good sign.

WONG: It is a good thing that we continue to engage at all levels of the relationship. The Alliance as I said is bigger than any individual. Having said that, if we disagree with a position that the United States Administration takes, be it this or any Administration, we should be standing up for Australian values and Australian interests.