SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

8 May 2019

DOORSTOP – ABC NEWS, ADELAIDE

TOPICS: LIBERAL PARTY FAKE NEWS ON WECHAT, SOUTH CHINA SEA

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Do you have concerns or any evidence that malicious information might be coming from foreign powers?

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: No, the evidence we have is what was reported which is evidence of interference by the Liberal Party. But my point was if Mr Morrison cares so much about Australian sovereignty, cares so much about our democracy then he should put a stop to Liberal Party supporters and members spreading fake news, things which are completely false on the WeChat platform.

JOURNALIST: The Liberal Party has denied any involvement. Do you trust them?

WONG: Well actually they haven’t, unless they have done so since then. I saw that their spokesperson used very careful language saying that they were not running any ads on WeChat. That’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about fake news, so there are a few weasel words here.

The Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, has a responsibility beyond his political interests and that is to make sure that our democracy is not tainted by fake news and if Liberal Party members are engaged in spreading fake news that is an attack on Australian democracy.

JOURNALIST: There’s also been comments made by Richard Marles, but the question I have is in relation to past comments he’s made about the Royal Australian Navy being able to make freedom of navigation trips within 12 nautical miles of Chinese features. Is that official policy?

WONG: I looked at what Richard said today and he and I have been saying the same thing. Australia has a national interest in the International Law of the Sea. Australia has a national interest in freedom of overflight and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Obviously we have very important interests in that. And his position, as he articulated in relation to freedom of navigation was as mine – those are matters that will be decided by future government.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.