SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

MINISTER FOR FINANCE AND DEREGULATION

TRANSCRIPT

8 March 2011

DOORSTOP – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY BREAKFAST, ADELAIDE

TOPICS: CLIMATE CHANGE, INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, NEWSPOLL, WOMEN ON BOARDS

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

WONG: It’s great to be here back in Adelaide for breakfast on this International Women’s Day. We are really proud here in Adelaide, we have the largest international Women’s Day Breakfast in Australia. It’s a great tradition. Over 2000 women – and some men – turn out to celebrate International Women’s Day. Celebrate what we’ve done, and also to enjoy breakfast together and have a think about where we have to go.

Of course all the money that is raised from this breakfast goes to UN Women to support women’s development and gender equality overseas. So I really want to thank the Adelaide community for doing such a great job and continuing to support this breakfast.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of the Governor-General calling for quotas for women in boardrooms?

WONG: The Governor-General is right to point out that we’re not doing well in terms of the number of women in Australian boardrooms. We know that we’re looking at around 8 per cent of women on boards in our top 200 companies. We have to do better.

And I think that the fact that she’s called for this probably says something to some parts of the business community and our major companies. You do need to do better. We want you to do better. And don’t lock yourself out of the talents of half the population.

JOURNALIST: One woman at the top of Australia, Julia Gillard, not faring so well in the latest Newspoll. Is that alarming for the Party?

WONG: It’s always easier in politics to oppose change than to make change. It’s always easier to run a scare campaign than to argue the case for reform.

We know this is a tough reform. We know that Mr Abbott will continue to run a tough scare campaign.  But we also know this. This is the right thing to do for Australia. This is an economic reform that is about the future of the country – making sure our economy is a clean energy, low pollution economy going forward.

JOURNALIST: The record low doesn’t alarm you?

WONG: As I said, I’ve always thought this is going to be a tough debate. It’s always easier in politics to try and oppose change than to make change happen.

JOURNALIST: So you’re comfortable with your Prime Minister?

WONG: I think Julia’s leading from the front in a fight that is critical to the nation’s future. This is about reform of our economy for the future. And she’s absolutely doing the right thing showing that she’s leading from the front and showing the courage that she has.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of Tony Abbott’s conspiracy theory that Julia Gillard got rid of Kevin Rudd over the ETS?

WONG: Tony Abbott says what he thinks will help him out. He says what he thinks will make a bit of a splash. And he says what he thinks will help him in that particular hour of the day when it comes to the politics of the day. What Tony Abbott is not good at is talking about what’s good for the country.

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