SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

18 October 2018

DOORSTOP – PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

TOPICS: LEAKED MESSAGES TO AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SCOTT MORRISON, WENTWORTH BY-ELECTION

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: The revelations overnight of the WhatsApp messages between the Foreign Minister of Indonesia and Senator Payne tell us the price Australia is paying for the reckless, ill-considered, rushed decision that Scott Morrison made when it comes to moving Australia’s embassy in Israel. This is an example of the price you pay when you put politics before good government.

Scott Morrison is a man who time and time again we have seen puts politics before good government, puts the Liberal Party before the nation and puts his personal political interests before those of Australians.

Do you remember when Scott Morrison told us he wore a little lapel badge with a flag on it to remind himself whose side he was on? Well he should have looked at it before he made this decision. He should have looked at it before he made a decision which didn’t go to Cabinet, which is against long-standing advice from departments, which risks Australia’s relationships with our friends and neighbours, which put politics before good government and put the Liberal Party before the nation.

JOURNALIST: Is this a case of short term government, trying to appease the voters?

WONG: I don’t think anybody looking at this decision, and what happened this week, would believe it was anything other than a strategy to try to desperately hold on to the seat of Wentworth.

It wasn’t about good government, it wasn’t about Australia’s interest, it wasn’t about making sure that our relationships with our regional partners and friends were strong, it wasn’t about the national interest, it was all about Scott Morrison’s political interest and everyone is now paying the price.

JOURNALIST: So do you think that promise is bound to be broken?

WONG: I said when it was first announced that the use of the words “consider” and “review” demonstrated the politics of the decision. They wanted to float this idea, give it enough of a run to get votes in Wentworth, from their perspective, and then walk away from it.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.