SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE SENATE
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Subjects: National Labor Women's Conference; Donald Trump indictment; allegations of a sexual assault in a Liberal Minister’s office.
PENNY WONG, FOREIGN MINISTER: It's great to be here in Western Australia, great to be here in Fremantle. A wonderful day for the Federal Labor Women's Conference and looking forward to hearing at this conference and to talking more with Labor women about how we can continue to ensure our Government delivers for women. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: We'll just start off with, is Australia concerned about the documents that were found at Donald Trump’s estate and work with the Five Eyes partners? Has there been a security breach? And is it going to impact Australia?
FOREIGN MINISTER: The first point I'd make is, these are matters which are the subject of the US system’s consideration. They are matters for the United States to deal with. And we will leave that process to get underway. In relation to Five Eyes, you understand the importance of those arrangements, and also that we don’t comment on intelligence.
JOURNALIST: Did Senator Gallagher mislead Parliament about when she knew about the Brittany Higgins rape allegation. And were you ever approached by Ms Higgins or David Sharaz to ask questions?
FOREIGN MINISTER: I want to make a few comments about this because I think it's important that we remember what we're talking about here. The first thing I would say is, I'd ask people to consider the impact on Ms Higgins of all of this commentary. I'd ask people to recall that when the DPP discontinued the prosecution, they discussed and I quote, “that the trial represented a significant and unacceptable risk to her life”. In that context, I would urge everybody commenting on this to reflect upon doing so responsibly, and for those who have published her private text messages without her consent, I would ask them to reflect on their responsibilities.
Serious allegations were made by Ms Higgins. Serious allegations were made by a Liberal staffer about an alleged rape which occurred metres from Prime Minister Morrison's office. I would make the point that to this day, the Australian people do not know what Mr Morrison’s office knew, and when they knew because the report he commissioned by his former chief of staff, Mr Gaetjens has never been made public, has never been made public.
I want to make clear, I did not know the full details of the allegations before the story became public. There are others who did know a lot of detail, including Morrison Government ministers, and they have still failed to account for what they did with that information.
But I do want to make this clear; President Ryan, the former President of the Senate made a statement to the Senate some time ago, in which he indicated that a number of senators including me, were aware of some details as early as 2020, when an anonymous complaint or anonymous complaints were made to presiding officers and Senate Committees. Those details have never been made public including by me.
Foreign Minister's Office: +61 2 6277 7500
Authorised by Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia.