Penny Wong denies bullying Senator Kimberly Kitching


Penny Wong, the opposition’s leader in the senate, has denied she bullied Senator Kimberly Kitching.

Senator Kitching died unexpectedly of a heart attack on the 9th March, and her funeral will be held in Melbourne today.

Following her death reports emerged that suggested the party was considering not endorsing her for the upcoming election, and friends shared that Kitching had spoken about bullying within the ranks of the Labor party.

According to friends and colleagues of the late senator, Kitching dubbed Senator Wong, Senator Katy Gallagher and Senator Kristina Keneally the ‘mean girls’ reporting that they’d shut her out of important meetings and accused her of inappropriately sharing information with political opponents.

Following her death Senator Kitching was praised by colleagues from different political backgrounds as being someone who worked collaboratively “across the aisle” to find common ground.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has described a close friendship with Senator Kitching and shared that she tried to convince the Victoria senator to switch parities. While Liberal party Vice-President Teena McQueen has also shared that Kitching spoke to her about bullying within the Labor party.

It’s also been noted that Senator Kitching was part of a group called ‘The Wolverines’ who met regularly to discuss national security issues, the other members were Liberals James Paterson and Andrew Hastie.

“Kimberly Kitching was an extraordinary politician.” Senator Wong said during an appearance on the Today show. “She was fiercely committed to the the things in which she believed, she was relentless in pursuing them.”

Senator Wong said a lot of claims had been made in the last week, but there were times when politics should take a back seat, and in the lead up to Senator Kitching’s funeral the focus should be on her grieving family.

Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann asked Senator Wong if she had once told Senator Kitching she would understand young people’s concern about climate change if she had children of her own.

Senator Wong said she had made a comment, but it was not intended as an attack on Senator Kitching. “My motivation was to  express the distress that many children feel about climate change, but what I said was insensitive, now I regret it, and I apologised as I should, when I became aware of how she felt about it.”

The South Australian senator said she had only become aware of how upset Senator Kitching was when she shared the comment publicly with the ABC.

“We have a lot of robust exchanges, I regret making the remark.” Senator Wong said.

While Uhlmann pressed for Senator Wong to comment on claims of bullying and the suggestion that Senator Kitching had died while being under significant pressure, Senator Wong refused to discuss the issue, saying it was not the right time to be having the discussion.

Earlier in the week Senator Wong, Gallagher and Keneally released a joint statement denying they had ever bullied Senator Kitching.

OIP Staff

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