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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 12 February 2007: Public accountability [and] Senate estimates; polls; Barack Obama.\n

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Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Public Administration & Accountability, Corporate Governance & Responsibility, and Workforce Participation


Monday 12 February, 2007



Subjects: Public accountability/Senate estimates; polls; Barack Obama. ___________________________________________________________________

WONG: Well today is the beginning of another week of Senate Estimates. As you know Senate Estimates is a key aspect of our accountability mechanisms within the Australian democracy. But what we have seen over the term of Howard Government, particularly since they have got control of the Senate, is an increasing arrogance, an increasing refusal to provide answers, to provide details, to provide costings. We hope the Government will change its approach, but we suspect we will see more of the same, the Government ducking and weaving and refusing to give the detail it should.

JOURNALIST: Was there a bit of a smile on your face this morning when you heard the result of the poll, the AC Nelson poll out today.

WONG: Well Kevin realises it’s early days, but one thing I know for certain as this Government becomes more desperate we are likely to see more personal attacks on Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. But Kevin realises it’s early days, we all do, we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and the next election.

JOURNALIST: It was a good poll for Labor, but in the area of economic management Labor seems to I guess, struggle a little but to catch up to the Government, is that a worry?

WONG: As I said it’s early days, we have a lot of work to do between now and the next election, we have to demonstrate to the Australian people that we have a plan for the future, a vision for the future, a vision that the includes safeguarding our prosperity and safeguarding our environment. We’re part way down the track, we’ve got a long way to go.

As I said it is very early days, but I suspect as the Government gets more desperate we’re likely to see some desperate attacks on Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

JOURNALIST: Why is Labor going so well in the polls (inaudible)…?

WONG: (Inaudible) I think Kevin has charted a new vision for this country, he has certainly connected with the electorate. He’s been setting out an alternative vision for Australia, for safeguarding our prosperity and safeguarding our environment.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of Mr Howard’s comments regarding Barack Obama?

WONG: Well I think you should have a look at what some of the Republicans in the US are saying in relation to those comments, but I understand Kevin will be commenting on this issue later in the day, so I’ll leave that to him.


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