Sabah-born Penny Wong to be key member of Australia's incoming Labor government
Published on: Sunday, May 22, 2022
By: Reuters
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Albanese addresses supporters in Sydney, Saturday. - Jaimi Joy | Reuters
CANBERRA: Australia's Labor Party ousted the conservative coalition at an election on Saturday, returning the centre-left party to government after nine years in opposition. 

One of the first items on the agenda for incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is a summit of the "Quad" grouping in Tokyo, where he will meet with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Albanese said that he, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, and three key shadow ministers – Penny Wong in foreign affairs. Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance – would be sworn in on Monday to enable the Quad trip.

Born in Malaysia (Sabah) in 1968 to an Australian mother and Malaysian father and who moved to Australia as a child, Penny Wong is the first Asian-born person to hold an Australian cabinet position.

A senator since 2002, Wong has a high profile in Australian politics with a reputation for plain language and maintaining composure during heated debates.

After Labor won government in 2007, Wong became minister for climate change, then 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. 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".


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