22 February 2018




PENNY ANDERSON, YOUR COMMUNITY HEALTH CEO: Your Community Health has been providing services, health and wellbeing services to the vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged for over 40 years and we are committed to providing accessible, integrated and coordinated service to the LGBTIQ community and in doing this we will undertake it with the community and also service providers.

I’d like to welcome you today and hand over to Ged and Penny.

GED KEARNEY, ALP CANDIDATE FOR BATMAN: Thanks Penny, I’m Ged Kearney, I’m the Labor Candidate for Batman and I’m very, very pleased to be here at Your Community Health this morning with a wonderful announcement.

Your Community Health, as Penny said, has been here for over 40 years delivering incredibly important services to this community. It’s a real hub, a hub of health care that we know is so important to be able to access at all levels, no matter what your postcode, no matter what your income, that you are able to come to a place like this and get decent dental care, get mental health care, and get all the health care that you need. It’s a wonderful service and I congratulate them.

I’m also incredibly pleased to have Penny Wong with me today with an announcement for the LGBTIQ+ community. You know Batman has one of the largest and most vibrant communities in Victoria and I’m very proud that it has been a place that they have felt safe to grow their community and to be very active. And so to announce today that Your Community Health will be a hub for their health care needs is something that I’m very proud of.

$2 million will go to Your Community Health to make sure that there is a specialist health service for people of LGBTIQ+ community. I’m going to hand over to Penny who will give a little more detail and tell you just how this will happen.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thank very much Ged and thank you Penny for hosting us. We really appreciate it. Thank you for all the work you and your colleagues do to deliver health services in this community.

I’m here to make this announcement – $2 million to ensure that Your Community Health can deliver services specific to the LGBTIQ community. And we know from the recent Marriage Equality debate that the health needs of our community are different and there are barriers.

The community has high mental health needs. People report, many in the community report, particularly in the Trans community, that they have difficulty accessing medical services and health service because of the lack of information that many of their providers have. So we hope, that if elected, we can provide this funding to ensure this fantastic community health service provides even stronger service, better service to the community, particularly the LGBTIQ community members who live in this area.

I do want to say that one of the things I really noticed during the Marriage Equality campaign was the extent to which many in our community, the LGBTIQ Community, felt disenfranchised by the sorts of services they were receiving. I’m so pleased that the enthusiasm that Penny and her colleagues have, to thinking through the moneys received, how it is that they make this service more accessible, more relevant to the needs of local LGBTIQ members.

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister has told Sky News he doesn’t view China as a threat to Australia. Do you agree with his assessment?

WONG: I think Barnaby Joyce was, again, off the reservation when he talked about China being a greater threat to Australia than terrorism and he was rightly slapped down by the Prime Minister and by the Foreign Minister.

It is possible to stand up for your national interest without being inflammatory and unfortunately we’ve seen the Government being variously inflammatory and clumsy in its language about China and it’s good to see Malcom Turnbull being a bit more sensible in the language than Barnaby Joyce.

JOURNALIST: Just locally, the Greens are suggesting there might be some preference deal with Cory Bernardi’s Conservatives

WONG: Can I say first, people have an opportunity in Ged Kearney to elect somebody who reflects their values and who will be a strong voice for progressive values inside a Labor Caucus and that is where real change comes from. As someone who has been inside a Labor Caucus when we have shifted our position on Marriage Equality, when we put in place the most progressive policy on climate change and on the River Murray, the Murray-Darling Basin, that any government has had, I can tell you that is where change comes from.

In terms of preference deals, I saw on Twitter last night Cory Bernardi saying very clearly out of his own mouth, or out of his own tweet, that the only party that had approached him on preferences were The Greens, so perhaps the question should go to The Greens.

Ged has made clear, very clear, there is no arrangement and perhaps The Greens would be better off looking in their own backyard.

JOURNALIST: The local Greens’ candidate has had some internal complaints against her. How do you think that has been handled?

WONG: I don’t know much about this. I read reports of allegations of bullying and allegations of multiple complaints and I did note that The Greens political party candidate has refused to answer any questions on it.

Look I do think a bit of transparency on this is probably reasonable for the voters of Batman. I think that shutting up shop on this is not the way to go. If there’s nothing to see then they should be able to explain the status of these issues.

JOURNALIST: Just back to federal politics, what will Labor be hoping Mr Turnbull can achieve out of this meeting with President Trump.

WONG: I’ve done a couple of interviews on this. We welcome the meeting. We hope the Prime Minister uses it is as an opportunity to put Australia’s view about what constructive US engagement in the region looks like and stresses the importance of dealing with matters in conjunction with the region, particularly with ASEAN nations.

Obviously North Korea will be and should be on the agenda, as the nation which is the greatest threat to peace and security in our region.

JOURNALIST: Nationals MP Andrew Board has savaged Barnaby Joyce for having failed the character test. Do you agree?

WONG: I’m not going to comment any further on those personal issues, I think the issue here is Mr Turnbull failed to enforce a Ministerial Standard he already had. It is clear that Mr Joyce breached those Ministerial Standards and that’s why he should have resigned and that’s why the Senate voted for a resolution calling on him to resign.