E&OE - PROOF ONLY
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: I’ll go first to you Senator Wong.
SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Good morning, good to be with you.
ARMYTAGE: Senator Wong, did the Australian voter get a good deal here?
WONG: I think this is an important agreement. We came out after the Stephen Parry disclosures, where it appears that he sat on his citizenship for a period of time and said, look we need a much stronger disclosure regime that makes Parliamentarians do the right thing. We put something on the table. We are pleased that the Government has come to the view that this is appropriate. What it will mean is all of us will have to disclose to the Parliament, and through the Parliament to the Australian people, and I think at this point in time that is required.
ARMYTAGE: Now are you happy with that? Are you certain that this is going to weed out everyone’s true citizenship history, yourself included?
WONG: Well, my history is there for all to see and I’ll certainly be complying.
We are happy with the arrangement that’s been agreed to because it is what we wanted. We wanted a stronger system of disclosure, the Government’s agreed to that. We wanted an earlier date for disclosure, the Prime Minister had a much later date and the Government has agreed to that. It’s a pity it took Labor and the Australian people pressing so hard for this before Malcolm Turnbull was prepared to act but we have landed an agreement and I think that’s a good thing for the country.
ARMYTAGE: It seems that both sides are in this together. The Government has threatened in the past couple of days to refer several Labor MPs to the High Court. I believe there’s four Labor MPs that are under suspicion. Are you satisfied that all of your Labor people, all of your Labor side of politics are clear on this?
WONG: I am but ultimately this will be a decision that the Parliament will make on all the evidence after the information has been disclosed. I think it is a real pity that Malcolm Turnbull, who frankly is pretty desperate and I understand why things aren’t going so well, is lashing out and making threats and you know the thing that I think is the biggest problem is that he is setting a higher test for Labor people than he is for the Coalition. I just want the same test.
ARMYTAGE: Okay, look it’s become an absolute joke, so let’s hope we get to the end of this in the end of the fortnight.
WONG: It would be good.
ARMYTAGE: Senator Wong thanks for your time.