E&OE - PROOF ONLY
JOURNALIST: Do you think you will be able to get crossbench support to split the income tax bill in the Senate?
PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: The Government has put up a bill as a political tactic. Malcolm is saying you have got to vote on a bill now that is predicated on me winning an election twice. So, he wants people to vote on a bill that assumes he’s going to be here in six years’ time.
The crossbench – I saw Senator Martin, Senator Storer, Senator Hinch rightly say what’s the rush, and tell us what it costs? Because let’s remember Malcolm Turnbull still hasn’t told people what his big tranche of tax cuts down the track costs and I think Australians, and the Senate, are entitled to know that.
JOURNALIST: A big upset in Malaysia overnight with Mahathir Mohamad winning the election. It’s very unusual for oppositions to win elections in Malaysia?
WONG: In fact it’s unprecedented in recent times and the not so recent times. Barisan Nasional has governed since independence so this is the first change of government in 60 years. It’s obviously a very significant event in Malaysia.
Whoever is in government, we work with whoever is elected. What we would say is that we do hope that Malaysia continues to be an inclusive, multiracial democracy and look forward to working with whoever forms government.
JOURNALIST: Will you campaign against the tax bill in the by-elections?
WONG: We’re supporting the first tranche of the tax cuts, the tax cuts which hand back some tax relief to low and middle income earners who have been suffering with the slow wage growth under this government. But I don’t think it’s reasonable for the government to expect the Senate and the Parliament to deal with a tax bill down the track just to suit Malcolm Turnbull’s political agenda.
JOURNALIST: Just one thing on citizenship, has this been embarrassing for the Labor Party?
WONG: The High Court has handed down its decision as a result of Katy Gallagher referring herself to the High Court and it is a much more stringent decision then we, and many people understood the law to be. We will act in compliance with that decision as you have seen. So immediately upon that decision we’ve seen statements from the MPs concerned and as a result will have a by-election which of course we regret.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra