Interview with Narelda Jacobs, Ten News First

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Women’s World Cup; Gender Equality Symposium; Afghan women’s football team; AUSMIN; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

Lachlan Kennedy, Host: The federal government is hosting a conference on the sidelines of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Brisbane today, bringing together world leaders, advocates and athletes to discuss gender equality. Our Narelda Jacobs spoke with Foreign Minister Penny Wong a little earlier.

Narelda Jacobs, Journalist: All right, Minister Wong, can you tell us why you're convening this symposium?

Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: Well, we wanted this World Cup to have a lasting legacy. We wanted to use this incredible opportunity with all these wonderful women athletes from around the world. Who've come here with all of their teams. To ensure we look at how we can improve gender equality in sport, but, of course, across society and how we can use sport to do that.

Jacobs: The Afghanistan women's team are in the room. Now, you had a kind of a special session with them yesterday. What did you do with them?

Foreign Minister: Well, I had a kick around where I looked pretty bad, they looked amazing. But it was a real privilege. And it is a reminder, isn't it? There's so much has been taken away from women and girls in Afghanistan. Sport, the ability to play sport, is just one of the rights which have been removed. And it was a real privilege to engage with them, to have a kick and to remember. We always have to fight for equality. We always have to protect our gains. It never comes easily. And never more so than when you've got the sort of regime that you have in the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Jacobs: So, they've been in Australia for a long time now but they're not competing in the Women's World Cup. But there are 32 countries competing in the World Cup. So, this is an amazing opportunity to gather the dignitaries from around the world.

Foreign Minister: Yes, dignitaries, but also players, people who come with the teams, as well as politicians and officials. The sort of crowds we saw last night and we've seen for this World Cup. The sort of interest in it globally reminds us we're at a different time now. Let's use it. Let's leverage it to make sure we have a world in 20 or 30 years where not only the Matildas win the World Cup, but our daughters can fulfil all of their aspirations.

Jacobs: We've got to beat Canada first, on Monday. Let's hope for that.

Foreign Minister: We've got to beat Canada. Yeah. It was heartbreaking last night, wasn't it?

Jacobs: Yeah it was pretty heartbreaking, Nigeria did a really good job, actually.

Foreign Minister: They did. They were pretty impressive.

Jacobs: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will in Australia. What's the message that you want to send him? I mean, you are convening this symposium with Pacific nations, leaders from Pacific nations, FIFA are going to be there. What is the message that you're sending Antony Blinken about Australia-US relations?

Foreign Minister: I think Tony would agree with me. He would agree with the idea that we're all better when there is greater gender equality. As you said, the outcomes across health, education, the economy are better when there's greater gender equality. It's also the right thing to do. And I'm sure that Secretary Blinken would agree with that, as would the delegates in the room today. And the question is, can we talk about how we make that happen faster?

Jacobs: China is also competing in the Women's World Cup. Is that an opportunity there?

Foreign Minister: China is competing and it's great to see them. I think they're playing in New Zealand, aren't they, yes. So, I think sport is a really important way of bringing the global community together. This is one of the ways we are reminded of the connection across humanity.

Jacobs: What are you hoping to get out of AUSMIN this weekend?

Foreign Minister: We want greater security cooperation, greater cooperation in the Pacific, greater cooperation on climate change.

Jacobs: Just lastly, the Voice to Parliament, the referendum, what are you hoping the world will see? After the referendum, if it is a no, do you think Australia will be judged for that?

Foreign Minister: Let's focus on making sure it's a 'Yes' Narelda. Because this will make our country more unified and stronger. And every time we've taken a step together as a country to be more unified, to confront discrimination, to bring ourselves together, we've become stronger. And a country that is more unified is stronger in the world.

Jacobs: Is the world interested in what happens here?

Foreign Minister: Very much. And people are interested in our journey. But I think the more important thing is we have to be interested. I mean, this is about listening, it's about recognition and it's about better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. And that's a great thing for our country.

Jacobs: The Women's World Cup, smash records, the eyes of the world are on us. What do you hope the legacy will be from this Women's World Cup?

Foreign Minister: More gender equality. And I hope that girls watching this can say to themselves, "I can do that," whether it's in sport or being a TV journalist.

Jacobs: If I had a football, we would have a kick to kick here.

Foreign Minister: Yeah, I think I might come off the worst on that.

Jacobs: Thank you very much, Minister, for your time.

Foreign Minister: Nice to see you.

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