Interview with Stacey Lee & Nikolai Beilharz, ABC Adelaide Breakfast

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast; AUKUS.

Stacey Lee, Host: Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: Hey. How are you going?

Lee: Just sat down so we've got you on your way in.

Foreign Minister: I'm on my way in.

Lee: Thank you for stopping by.

Foreign Minister: It's good to be here.

Lee: It's a huge event.

Foreign Minister: It is, isn't it? It's one of the great Adelaide traditions, I reckon. I remember when this started over 20 years ago, it was only a few hundred women and now look at it. And it's wonderful to see women from so many parts of South Australia, so many parts of Adelaide here to celebrate.

Lee: Why do you think, cause you're the one who hosts this event, why do you think it's important to get so many people in the room on, well, this week of International Women's Day every year. Some people say it's tokenistic. If you work in an office, you might get a cupcake and you celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th of March. But why is it important for you to host an event like this?

Foreign Minister: Well, I've always thought it's important to celebrate what we've done and to reflect upon what we have to do. But one of the things I'm really grateful for with this event is that you do get this real cross-section of women across the community, and in particular, you get a lot of young girls as well. You've probably seen a few school uniforms around, right? And I always thought it was really important to get that cross-generational engagement going. So kids from school, talking to or hearing the stories about the women who've gone before, who've done so much. Like you know, people, my mother's generation, what sort of things they had to do. And you get a lot of people talking together at these events. And I think that's really, we need to know our history and we need to know our future.

Nikolai Beilharz, Host: So what do you hope it achieves? What's the ideal outcome of a day like today?

Foreign Minister: I think we should remember what we have to do; that equality is a constant project and each generation, each one of us has to do our part for it. And of course, we raise money. Don't forget we raise money for women around the world. Women and girls around the world who are overrepresented in poverty and who are more likely to be victims of violence and much less likely to be in education - you know, all the disadvantage we know that faces so many women girls around the world.

Lee: It is twelve to seven on ABC Radio Adelaide. That's the voice of Federal Foreign Minister Penny Wong. Nikolai and Stacey with you for breakfast down here at the International Women's Day breakfast at the Convention Centre. Foreign Minister, we do have to ask you this morning the news out about, well, the reports out about the AUKUS submarine deal. Will you be heading to America for that announcement this week?

Foreign Minister: No, no the PM, I think he confirmed overnight, didn't he, that he will be standing up with President Biden and Prime Minister Sunak. Obviously, it's a very important announcement. It will change - enormous uplift in Australia's industrial capability and South Australia's industrial capability. But obviously, I'll leave the details of that to the Prime Minister.

Lee: Yeah. Will South Australia be disappointed by the announcement?

Foreign Minister: Well, I don't think so, no. I think this is going to be enormously beneficial for South Australians.

Beilharz: So, there will still be work, there will still be jobs?

Foreign Minister: Absolutely.

Lee: Because the Premier is speaking a big game that he needs, he wants all eight, the commitment for all eight to be built here, and it feels like it might be walked back from that?

Foreign Minister: Look, Stacey, I think you and I had a conversation last time where you asked me a lot of questions that I wasn't going to answer, and so this is probably going to be another one of them! It's not worth my while to get ahead of the boss, but I promise I'll be in Adelaide, and I promise I'll make myself available to talk to you after the announcement.

Lee: Okay. We appreciate that. Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

Foreign Minister: We're dinging

Lee: Yes, it's like the bells at Parliament House isn't it? Not as rude

Foreign Minister: No, no, no this not quite as rude.

Lee: Well, thank you for your time. We appreciate you stopping by.

Foreign Minister: Thank you. Nice to see you.

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