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 – NOFFKE PARK, LOGAN

TOPICS: BARNABY JOYCE, COALITION DIVISIONS, DISABILITY ROYAL COMMISSION, LABOR'S SUPPORT FOR WOMEN'S SPORT, US AMBASSADOR'S COMMENTS ON CHINA, WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

DES HARDMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FORDE: Good morning my name is Des Hardman. I’m Labor’s candidate for Forde at the next Federal Election. This morning we’ve come to the Waterford Demons Football Club to tell you some really exciting news for the club and for the community and for the families of the kids and everybody who will benefit from our announcement today.

I’m here today with Senator Penny Wong who is also a shadow minister in the Shorten Labor Opposition and Councillor John Raven who is the Division Five councillor here in Logan City Council. We’ve also got here Mick from the Waterford Demons and some of the wonderful athletes, female athletes, that are playing football here at this club and enjoying every minute of it.

Today’s announcement is really exciting because it is great for our local community. It acknowledges how important sport is to our local communities and what that means for people and kids in our community to be able to participate and enjoy sporting events. I will just hand over to Penny thank you.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: It’s really great to be here in the electorate of Forde. Thanks very much Des for that introduction. It’s a beautiful Queensland day isn’t it?

So I’m here to announce that if elected a Labor Government will provide $1.2 million towards the clubhouse construction here for the Waterford Demons and I know that talking to members of the club you’ve been working on this for nearly 15 years, Mick said, and that’s a great thing. But I also want to thank Des for working with the community, with the Logan City Council, to put this together and to keep pestering us to make sure we fund it if we win.

I also want to say something to the young girls and young women who are behind us. We have just had International Women’s Day on Friday and one of the things we talked about across the country was how far we have come, but also about how far we have yet to go. And I look at your generation and I think it’s amazing isn’t it? Young women, young girls, playing rugby league and that’s a wonderful thing. Twenty or thirty years ago we might not have seen that. So girls can do anything.

We are really happy as a Shorten Labor Government to support women and girls participation in sport and we’re really happy to support local communities doing great things like this club, which has got such great community participation, a family oriented club, and we look forward, if elected, to being able to come down here with Des and open the clubhouse so that everybody can use it.

I’m happy to hand over first to Mick, who is a life member but he says he’s not that old.

MICK SPAREY, WATERFORD DEMONS RLFC: I’d just like to reiterate what Senator Wong has mentioned there. The clubhouse is well overdue. We have been waiting a long time for this with our increasing numbers that we have been getting, particularly in the female age groups. This will be a massive boost for the club and we won’t have girls lining up too long for the toilets, we’ve had issues with that in the past and we look forward to a bright future. A big thank you to Councillor Raven and also to Des for their support. We really appreciate it.

JON RAVEN, LOGAN CITY COUNCIL: So this is a joint initiative between Logan City Council and hopefully a future Labor Government to fund a community club that is really grassroots. They work so hard to get kids involved and get active in the community and this funding is exactly what they need. They have been struggling with the facilities they have and Council has been doing all of the work in the background to get the plan ready for this. So now that there are detailed plans we can see the rubber hit the ground really quickly. So it’s important that we support Des and we support our community clubs with this sort of thing. I’m just so excited to see this happen.

Thank you Senator Wong. The girls will be thrilled. They worked really hard. The girls tackling League was one of the things I found out about before getting elected and it’s just been going from strength to strength. It’s fantastic to see so congratulations.

JOURNALIST: Senator, the Government has said it would fully fund a Royal Commission into the disability sector. Would Labor do the same?

WONG: We have been arguing for a Royal Commission into the disability sector for a few years now so of course a Labor Government would fund it properly. What I have seen is some confusion between the Minister and the Prime Minister as to whether the Government is committed to funding it. I suppose it is better than voting against a Banking Royal Commission 26 times that they are finally announcing it, even if it is in the shadow of an election.

JOURNALIST: There is a push for people with disability to be appointed as commissioners, does Labor support that?

WONG: I will probably leave detailed comment on that to Linda Burney who has been working very closely with the community and people living with disability. I’m sure she will make comment about those issues. But it is very important to make sure that this Commission does the right thing, does a good job, and has the proper involvement and engagement with people with disability.

JOURNALIST: Just on China, the US Ambassador says China is involved in payday loan diplomacy and countries should be wary of this money. Do you share this view?

WONG: I haven’t seen those comments, but if the comments are in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative I’ve made extensive comments about that before. A Labor Government would be open to co-operating on those projects on a case-by-case basis by making assessments as to what is in our national interest. I think that is the sensible approach.

JOURNALIST: Barnaby Joyce is in the headlines again, chopping and changing his views on whether he was the elected Deputy PM – he’s not, he is. Should he just be quiet for now?

WONG: Well I think what this just demonstrates is you can count on one thing with the Morrison-Turnbull-Abbott Government and that is division, disunity and chaos.

QUESTION: And what about women….

WONG: That is a very good question. I don’t like to be too political with all these kids around me. We know that Malcolm Turnbull was right when he said the Coalition has a woman problem. Out of the mouth of the former Prime Minister and the former Liberal Leader he says the Coalition has a woman problem. I think anybody who has watched what has happened over the last few years understands that.

This is something which is a major difference between the parties. We not only have women in our leadership group, if we are elected we will have the first government in Australian history to have 50 percent female representation. What that says to girls like those here behind me is you can do anything because we are a truly equal society.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.