16 November 2017




HOST: Penny Wong joins us on the phone. Penny is Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. No one has been more articulate for the Yes campaign, and anyone who saw the vision of Penny at precisely the moment the result was released yesterday would have been pretty moved.

We welcome you on the air with Jodie and Soda. Thank you for all you have done for the Yes campaign. Can you take us back to those feelings, and what was the exact moment for you like yesterday?

WONG: I think I just felt more overwhelmed than anything. It’s been a really long process for people, it’s been a really hard process for people. A lot of us have worked over many years to get to this point.

It was not just a relief, but also, I suppose, joy that the country had actually done what we had hoped. So I do want to say thank you to everybody. Thank you to all of you who voted Yes. Thank you to everyone who worked on the campaign in ways great and small because it was a wonderful day for the country.

HOST: Penny, was the first person you spoke to yesterday your partner Sophie? Was she there or did you give her a phone call?

WONG: No, she was at work, I went down to the office and gave her a call and I told her I’d got a little emotional in front of the whole country. I said I’d just blubbed in front of millions of people. She was happy – she knew the result but she hadn’t seen the footage so I thought I’d better tell her before she did.

HOST: Now Penny, of course, there’s a lot of debate about this vote and whether it was necessary and can’t the politicians just get together and get it going? What is the next step and how long do you think it is going to take?

WONG: We passed a motion yesterday that I was one of the joint movers of with Dean Smith and a range of other Senators across the parties and we are starting debate on the bill to legislate marriage equality today. In under two hours we will be starting the second reading debate, which is a very important step, a really momentous occasion, I think, to have a bill supported by the two major parties, people from the two parties of Government plus so many people from the crossbench.

The motion we passed also will require that bill to be dealt with by the Senate by the end of the second sitting week, which I think is 30 November and that gives the House a week to deal with it. My view is we should all be working to finish this before Christmas.

HOST: Penny, I want you to take your political hat off for the moment and just go to your personal hat. Any little proposals going on yesterday?

WONG: I thought that would happen.

HOST: (laughter)

WONG: Because you’d want to propose on radio, wouldn’t you? That’s really romantic…

HOST: We’ve got it named already, it’s called the pop-up Penny wedding (laughter). But Penny, tell us personally for you, if we take away the politics, what does it actually mean?

WONG: It means, well, it means we feel accepted. I always think not just about Sophie and I, I think of our daughters, Alexandra and Hannah and the world I want for them. I want a world for them where they are accepted for who they are, where they accept others and where their family and the love and commitment that we have is seen for what it is worth and not diminished or denigrated in any way. So, I think it is about the country and the world I want for them

HOST: That’s a beautiful answer Penny and you have been instrumental in making this change happen and I’m really sorry you have had to go through this process like everyone else and the family questions.

WONG: We’re here now, and it would have been worse the other way, wouldn’t it?

HOST: Absolutely, so congratulations on making change and being a pioneer for women and women in your community, so well done and thank you for joining us this morning.

WONG: Thanks very much guys.