We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Wong has something you cannot manufacture

1 1 0

When it's pointed out to Penny Wong that she is the fourth most recognised politician on the front bench of either major party according to a new poll, her response is to say that she's the only Asian among them. In other words, no big deal.

But there is more to Wong. Yes, the uniqueness among frontbenchers of her Chinese name and features may well make her more recognisable than Christopher Pyne, Josh Frydenberg, Tanya Plibersek or Chris Bowen as the Australia Institute poll finds.

Senator Penny Wong speaking at the launch of Labor's federal election campaign.Credit:AAP

But it does not explain her ranking as the most "believable" politician in Australia. The so-called Believability Index published last week by Ogilvy PR found that the three most credible of Australia's federal legislators are women. Wong, Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek all rated well ahead of the two party leaders. And all the other blokes.

"Am I being too self-deprecating?" laughs Wong. Yes, you are. And the self-deprecation is real. In the last decade, perhaps the greatest single malfunction of federal politics has been the overweening egoism of the people who insist on their right to be prime minister. Urgently. But when I ask Wong this week if she would ever consider moving from the Senate to the House of Representatives, she shoots back an emphatic "no". In other words, she's not interested in contesting to be leader. Wong manages her ego, rather than the other way around.

She has two serious positions now and if Labor wins next week's election she will take carry those positions from opposition into office - she would become the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. She is........

© The Age