SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

7 December 2017

DOORSTOP – CANBERRA

TOPICS: FOREIGN INTERFERENCE LAWS, ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES TWO STATE SOLUTION, MARRIAGE EQUALITY

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Can I just start with your reaction to Donald Trump?

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Labor is committed to a two-state solution and we judge foreign policy on the basis of whether or not it contributes to a two-state solution.

It is clear that the unilateral declaration that is being proposed, the unilateral action that is being proposed by the President, is not helpful to the peace process.

JOURNALIST: Can I just ask about Australia’s relationship with China. Is that at a low at the moment given recent focus on our links there?

WONG: I’d make two points. First, Australia, as is any nation, is always entitled to ensure our sovereignty is safeguarded and that our regulatory regime does protect our sovereignty and that is the basis on which the Opposition will assess the legislation that is being proposed.

I do make this point too; in the heat of a partisan debate it is important that national leaders set the appropriate tone and don’t succumb to populism in how they take these matters forward

JOURNALIST: Just one more on the same sex marriage debate, how are you feeling today?

WONG: I’m feeling happy.

JOURNALIST: Confident this is going to go through today?

WONG: It looks like it. We will wait for the vote but judging by the people who have spoken we are in a good place. Obviously, if not all, then the overwhelming majority of Labor will be supporting and we will have enough Liberals and crossbench people to get it over the line. It will be the end of a very long journey.

It’s an outcome that will have been achieved because of the Australian people and in this, as I said in my third reading speech, we are their representatives but they have been our leaders. They have demonstrated grace and decency and I hope we demonstrate that today.

Thank you very much