Does anybody have a clue of the ultimate goal of a gay cabinet minister?
|December 5, 2007|
|malaysia-born lesbian lawyer becomes australia’s first openly gay cabinet minister|
|By News Editor|
|Senator Penny Wong has been appointed Australia’s first climate change and water minister – making her both the country’s first openly gay and Asian-born cabinet minister.|
|South Australia Senator Penny Wong Ying Yen, a 39-year-old lawyer who was born in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, was named Australia’s first climate change and water minister by newly-installed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who was sworn in on Monday.
The Labor Party leader and former diplomat officially ended John Howard’s reign as Australia’s second-longest serving Prime Minister after winning a landslide election victory over Howard’s 11-year-old coalition last week.
Wong, who was born in Sabah’s capital of Kota Kinabalu to a Malaysian Chinese Hakka father and an Australian mother, emigrated to Australia as an eight-year-old in 1977. She worked as a lawyer before being elected as a Labor Senator for South Australia in November 2001.
Wong was appointed Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, and Shadow Minister for Corporate Governance and Responsibility in October 2004.
Described by newspaper commentators as “the smart rising star of Australian politics” and “a template of Australia’s multicultural future,” Wong spoke of her family history and race issues during her first parliamentary speech in August 2002. She spoke critically of former PM Howard’s tolerance of Pauline Hanson’s views and called for the reclamation of the phrase `one nation’ referencing Hanson’s One Nation Party which promoted racist and anti-immigration views and policies.