SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
LABOR SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
CHAIR OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COVID-19
LABOR SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
This has been a difficult time for the Labor family. Senator Kitching’s tragic death has been a shock to us all. People are grieving and hurting.
Our priority at this time has been Senator Kitching’s husband, Andrew, her family and her loved ones. Their grief is profound, their loss immeasurable.
Out of respect for them, and for Senator Kitching, we have not responded to allegations that have been made, despite them not being true.
This has been hard, but we believed it to be the right thing to do to maintain some dignity for all concerned.
Given the hurtful statements that continue to be made we feel it necessary to respond.
The allegations of bullying are untrue. Other assertions which have been made are similarly inaccurate.
All of us have spent many years in the service of the public. We do so because we want to make a contribution to the nation.
Politics is a challenging profession. Contests can be robust and interactions difficult. All of its participants at times act or speak in ways that can impact on others negatively. We have and do reflect on this, as individuals and as leaders.
It is for this reason Senator Wong wishes to place on record a response to specific claims regarding an exchange in a meeting with Senator Kitching.
After these matters were publicly reported more than two years ago, Senator Wong discussed the matter with Senator Kitching and apologised. Senator Wong understood that apology was accepted. The comments that have been reported do not reflect Senator Wong’s views, as those who know her would understand, and she deeply regrets pain these reports have caused.
All three of us will be attending Senator Kitching’s funeral. This follows engagement with Senator Kitching’s family about our attendance. We will do so to recognise and respect her contribution to public life.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.