9 Nov 2010

Labour accuses Wong of misusing ministerial title

6:59 pm on 9 November 2010

The Labour Party has accused Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong of inappropriately using her ministerial title to support her husband's business interests during a private trip to China.

Ms Wong was asked about the document in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, when Labour members questioned her about a deal bearing her signature. The deal related to Pacific Hovercraft Ltd, of which Ms Wong's husband is a director.

Labour's attack, led by Pete Hodgson, came during a routine question about the gender pay gap and the number of women in leadership roles.

After an earlier question from Mr Hodgson was ruled out by the Speaker, the Labour MP gave it another try.

"Does a woman demonstrate leadership," he asked, when as a Cabinet minister she witnesses a deal in China to advantage her husband, even though both of them travelled to China privately?"

The Speaker ruled that question out of order too.

But Mrs Wong says she is not sure the story is right. She told Parliament she is not aware that she signed a document overseas outside her capacity as Minister of Womens' Affairs.

Afterwards, outside the House, she said she would look into the matter further.