For Griffith University’s A Better Future for All series, in partnership with HOTA, Home of the Arts, Kerry O’Brien welcomed Senator the Honourable Penny Wong.

Faced with deteriorating relationships in the Pacific and increasing tension with our biggest trading partner, China, Penny Wong has spent her first year as Foreign Minister travelling at whirlwind pace, mending fences and strengthening new alliances.

Post-World War II, Australia’s relationship with its strongest ally, the United States, has never been more intertwined, and its relationship with modern China more fractious.

This at a time when Europe is deeply unsettled around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the old threat of nuclear war is back in play. At the same time the existential threat of climate change is closing in on a global tipping point.

Join Senator Wong as she reflects on her first remarkable year in the job with journalist and author Kerry O’Brien in this instalment of Griffith University’s conversation series, A Better Future for All. 

Senator the Honourable Penny Wong

Penny Wong is Australia’s Foreign Minister and Government leader in the Senate, and has been in the parliament for 21 years.

She has previously served as Minister for Climate Change and Water in the Rudd Government, representing Australia in critical international climate negotiations and led major reforms to expand renewable energy and improve rural and urban water security.

Senator Wong was appointed Minister for Finance in the Gillard Government in 2010, helping deliver three Budgets in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and driving policy to increase the appointment of women to senior roles in government agencies.

She was born in Malaysia, moving to Australia at the age of eight, and prior to her political career, worked as a barrister and in trade unions where she often represented migrant women facing precarious working conditions.

On the election of the Albanese Government last year, Senator Wong was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs at a time of enormous global challenges, after holding the portfolio in opposition for the previous six years.