SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

13 March 2019

DOORSTOP – CARINA, BRISBANE

TOPICS: COALITION DIVISIONS, DISABILITY ROYAL COMMISSION, LABOR'S SUPPORT FOR WOMEN'S SPORT, WAGES

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

JO BRISKEY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BONNER: I’m Jo Briskey, Labor’s candidate running at the Federal Election for the seat of Bonner where we are here today, right in the heart of Bonner. I’m really excited to welcome Penny Wong to this beautiful local football club, the AC Carina Football Club, go the Dolphins! We’re really excited to be making an announcement that will have a huge impact on this club and its ability to continue to grow as a club, grow as a sport, particularly for girls and women getting into the great game of soccer. So, Penny, I will leave it you now to make that wonderful announcement.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thanks very much for being here and for AC Carina for hosting us and to the players and others from the club.

One of the things that we are very focused on is working with our candidates so that if we win government we can provide local commitments that are good for the community. One of the things that Jo has been very, very conscious of is the importance of trying to support local community and local clubs. She has been advocating for a grant for this club to make sure that we can fix up the women’s changing rooms and do an extra pitch work and I know (the club) has been working on these plans and on these extensions.

So I am very pleased to announce today that if elected, a Labor Government will provide $800,000 to AC Carina in order to expand the change rooms and to enable them to do another pitch so you can get more people out there.

We’re really pleased to support this, and we’re really pleased that this club has done such a great job in bringing young girls, young women into sporting activities. This is one of the things that Labor has been focussed on, one of the things that Don Farrell, my colleague in whose portfolio this is, has been focussed on. How do we invest in grassroots, community level, women’s sport so we can encourage this.

So I’m very pleased to announce that. Thank you Jo for all the work you’ve done and thank all of you for the work you have done to put this together and I hope that if we are elected by the Australian people we can provide that funding to invest in women’s sport here in Bonner.

SHARON CROCETTI, AC CARINA FOOTBALL CLUB: I’d just like just say thank you. This will make a huge difference for us. We have been at the club for many years now and seen the growth in this area and one of our big aims was wanting to grow women’s football. It’s one of the biggest growing sports. We are very proud of the women’s teams and the girls’ teams that we have here. It’s taken a long time for us to build that. We are very pleased with everyone that has helped us to grow that so this will be amazing for us to actually to go forward and still be able to offer these facilities and we just want to say thank you very much. It’s great news for us, thank you.

JOURNALIST: The PM has outlined his terms of reference for the Disability Royal Commission. What do you make of those?

WONG: I haven’t seen those, I’ve been on the road and I’m sure we will respond. But I do recall, I think it was in the last week of the Parliament that the Government was unwilling to vote on a motion which was about establishing the Royal Commission and that was extremely disappointing. This is belated, a belated move that should have been done some time ago. I suppose it’s better than the Banking Royal Commission where they voted against it 26 times, so maybe there is some small amount of progress.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there has been enough time given for feedback?

WONG: I haven’t seen the announcement. I hope, given the extent of community interest and concern about this issue that the Government will make sure they get it right. They’ve delayed long enough themselves and I hope they get it right on this occasion.

JOURNALIST: Just on Barnaby Joyce he says his leadership comments this week were a misstep. Will that be enough to ease the tension in the National Party?

WONG: Well you better ask the National Party. I think the only thing I can say is what the country can see and that this lot is divided. What we know about the Coalition, this Coalition Government, this Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, with its unhappy arrangement with the National Party at the moment, is that they are defined by cuts and chaos. They are defined by division and disunity and we have seen that on display yet again in this last week.

JOURNALIST: How would a Labor Government boost the minimum wage? The ACTU is pushing for a $43 weekly increase in the minimum wage.

WONG: As Bill Shorten has said the ACTU are entitled to advocate for this. Bill’s talked about the ways in which we could we could look at this, including how you might get some greater direction to the Fair Work Commission.

Can I just make this point? I know there’s a lot of talk out there from the Coalition, saying that this would be a dreadful thing, to actually ensure people get a wage increase. Company profits are going up around five times people‘s wages, so when people feel like everything is going up except their wages they feel like that for a reason so that is something we want to address, just as we want to address the cuts to penalty rates that Scott Morrison supports.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.