Foreign Minister post for Wong?
Published on: Monday, May 23, 2022
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Penny Wong
PETALING JAYA: Sabah-born Penny Wong is expected to be sworn in as Monday after the Labour party ousted the Liberal-National conservative coalition after nine years in opposition.

Currently a senator representing South Australia since 2002, she has been the shadow foreign minister since 2016 and is one of three key members of incoming prime minister Anthony Albanese’s cabinet. 

The Australian Financial Review newspaper said Wong had emerged as the second-most-powerful member of Albanese’s team.  “Tough, cerebral and sometimes self-righteous, she’s forged a close friendship with Albanese,” the AFR said. She has a high profile in Australian politics with a reputation for plain language and maintaining composure during heated debates.

In a 2021 speech, she said Australia faced unprecedented challenges including “a more assertive China” and called for an overhaul of foreign policy with “the key task of maximising our influence in the reshaping of the region”.

Wong was born in Kota Kinabalu in 1968 to an Australian mother and a Malaysian father, and moved to Australia as a child after her parents separated.

She became the first Asian-born person to hold an Australian cabinet position when she became Minister for Climate Change after Labour came to power in 2007, and later became Finance Minister.

In 2013, she became Australia’s first female government leader in the Senate. Since 2016 she has been the shadow Foreign Affairs Minister.

She was also the first female openly-LGBTI Australian federal parliamentarian, and was an instrumental figure in the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia in 2017. 

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