For anyone who knows me well, also knows how much I admire and love this woman Senator PENNY WONG. Being one of the only 3 Asian Australians in Australia’s Parliament, she is seriously a force to reckon with. She speaks her mind and represents basically every minority possible. She is hapa (biracial), identifies as LGBTIQ, is Asian and is in Australian Parliament as a Senator. Penny was basically the face of the marriage equality debate in Australia and stands for many progressive issues. She is also a stand out, and has always made the front pages of Australian mainstream media. Over the years there has been talk of Wong rising within the ranks of the Australian Labor Party (equivalent to the Democrats) and when the Australian Labor Party was in Government she was a senior minister.
Now media outlets have come out talking about her potentially being the next Foreign Minister ( if the Australian Labor Party is elected in the next election). Here are some of the reasons why she would make an awesome one via (Sydney Morning Herald):
Wong, who is regarded as one of the most formidable intellects in the federal Parliament, is using her time in opposition to prepare for the event that she becomes foreign minister 18 months from now, which on current poll numbers is a firm likelihood.
She has the space to do this because foreign affairs isn’t the place for partisan hits.
Most observers – Fairfax Media spoke to a wide range of people in the foreign policy sphere, all of whom preferred to speak privately – think Wong’s views are still taking shape, which is not surprising given she’s spent most of her political career in domestic portfolios. Keen to avoid overheated language today that will make her job harder in 18 months’ time, she is cautious in her language, particularly around China.
But a general picture emerges. Wong is very pro-free trade, bucking the stereotype attached to the Labor left faction to which she belongs. She takes the centrality of the US alliance to Australia’s security as a given, but affords Australia a conspicuously long leash to assert its independence within that alliance.
She puts a strong emphasis on building Australia’s relationships in South-east Asia – continuing a Labor tradition that can be charted from Chifley through to Keating and Evans.
She leans towards a glass half-full view of China. If there is an area in which the orthodox foreign policy community is watching closely to see where Wong will land, it is how she will position herself if and when the US decides to take a firmer stance in pushing back against Chinese assertiveness – and expects Australia’s help.
This prospect is hardly a distant one. Washington’s two recent security statements both called out China – along with Russia – as a competitor that couldn’t be relied upon to follow the international system of rules which have, since World War II, helped ensure free and open trade, resolved many disputes peacefully and ensured small countries as well as large are heard and respected.
Wong says the international system will need to evolve as major powers such as China have a quite legitimate expectation to be rulemakers as well as takers. Beijing’s creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – which the US tried to discourage Australia from joining – is an example of China’s making rules constructively to the benefit of the region.
What can’t be tolerated, she says, is for countries to unilaterally tear up the rule book when it suits them. In Singapore, she pointed to the South China Sea as an example – a reference to Beijing’s remaking the physical territory of those waterways in clear violation of international law.
Personally it would be so heartening to see an Asian Australian become the next Foreign Minister as this is one of the top 3 most senior positions any Australian who is elected can get and she would do so much more positive work than all the previous Foreign Ministers in Australia. Times need to change for Australia and we need to stop seeing just white in our elected representatives.
I will leave it here, but please feel free to let us know what you think…
Images via Sydney Morning Herald
To read the entire article, please click on: Penny Wong, the woman who could be Australia’s next foreign minister