SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

15 November 2017

DOORSTOP – CANBERRA

TOPICS: MARRIAGE EQUALITY, MARRIAGE EQUALITY PLEBISCITE

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Good morning all. Well, it’s a big day, a few anxious people sleeping last night or maybe not sleeping and I do want to say first thank you to every Australian. In the LGBTI community and more broadly, our friends and allies, every Australian who stood up over these last weeks and months for a decent Australia. I hope all of our work will come to fruition today but I want to thank all of you for your work

JOURNALIST: Penny what will it mean to you personally and also the nation with a yes vote?

WONG: If there’s a yes vote today it will be a profoundly important statement, not just for lesbian and gay couples, the LGBTIQ community, it will be a profoundly important statement about our nation. It will be a profoundly important statement about what sort of country we are.

Now I believe in an Australia that is decent and fair and I hope today that that will be demonstrated in the return of the survey.

JOURNALIST: Is there anything decent and fair about some of the religious protections that the conservatives want in this legislation.

WONG: Look if there was a Yes vote today I simply say this, Australians would have voted to lessen discrimination, Australians would have voted for equality. They would not have voted to grant a license to discriminate and the Parliament should respect that.

JOURNALIST: Do you find any consolation in the fact the Prime Minister has effectively slapped down Senator Paterson’s bill?

WONG: Well it shows the extent to which this Bill is both a distraction and frankly the wrong path, that you’ve had the Prime Minister and the Attorney General Senator Brandis, be so critical publically of the legislation.

If there is a Yes vote we will commence debate in the Senate tomorrow, subject to the motion that is signed by Dean Smith and I and a number of Members of the Senate cross-party delegation and we will commence debate on the Dean Smith Bill tomorrow.

JOURNALIST: The Yes vote today doesn’t mean it’s over though does it?

WONG: Oh of course not. There’s been a long road and there’s still further fights down the track.

Thanks very much.