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Why you won’t see Penny Wong on ABC’s election night coverage

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Why you won’t see Penny Wong on ABC’s election night coverage

Penny Wong ‘is so traumatised by enduring hours of questioning’ after Labor’s stunning 2019 defeat she ‘refuses to appear on the ABC’s election night coverage’ this year

  • The South Australian Senator’s 2019 appearance became an interrogation 
  • Polls, pundits and bookies all got it wrong as Coalition won ‘miracle’ victory 
  • Penny Wong spent hours under the spotlight trying to explain Labor’s loss 

Penny Wong is reportedly so traumatised by her appearance the ABC’s election night panel show in 2019 she has refused to appear on Saturday night. 

 The South Australian senator is still so shaken by her many uncomfortable hours in the spotlight in 2019 that she has no intention of repeating the experience in 2022 – despite polls showing Labor heading for a comfortable win.

Senator Wong went onto the program expecting a victory for Labor and its then-leader Bill Shorten, but it became more of an interrogation than a coronation.  

As soon as the results started to come in it became very obvious that the polls, the pundits and the bookies had got it wrong. 

Penny Wong is pictured getting a tough time on ABC’s election night coverage in 2019. She has declined an invitation to appear on the 2022 edition on Saturday

The night ended up being a Coalition victory that Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed as a ‘miracle’.

So instead of sitting there accepting praise for a successful campaign, Ms Wong had to endure hour after hour of harsh, endless questions on what went wrong and why. 

At times it was hard to tell if she was more stunned at how the election turned out or at the ferocity of the questioning.  

She grew increasingly flustered and frustrated as she was made to carry the can for Labor’s failure, with questions coming thick and fast from ABC presenters Leigh Sales, Andrew Probyn, Annabel Crabb and more. 

Even the mild-mannered Arthur Sinodinos, the Coalition’s representative on the night, couldn’t keep the smile off his face at how the tables had turned. 

Mr Sinodinos, who is now Australia’s ambassador to the US, went on the show expecting he would have to answer questions on how the Coalition lost.

Instead, Senator Wong was under pressure to explain how Labor had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. 

The Australian’s Media Diary column claimed on Monday that though Senator Wong was asked to come back and repeat her performance on ABC after Saturday’s election, she declined. 

Tanya Plibersek (pictured right) will be hoping to welcome Anthony Albanese (left) as Australia's new Prime Minister on Saturday when she appears on ABC's election night coverage

Tanya Plibersek (pictured right) will be hoping to welcome Anthony Albanese (left) as Australia’s new Prime Minister on Saturday when she appears on ABC’s election night coverage

Even the likelihood of Labor winning and Anthony Albanese becoming Prime Minister is not enough to change her mind. 

The polls could be wrong again this time and Mr Morrison might pull off another miracle, come from behind victory. 

As the magnitude of what was happening sunk in three years ago, Ms Wong eventually admitted Labor was ‘not where we hoped we would be’. 

By the end of the night, after more than five hours under the harsh glare of the studio lights and millions of people watching, she said it had been a ‘very tough’ result. 

Leigh Sales (pictured) had a lot of very tough questions for Labor's Penny Wong on election night 2019

Leigh Sales (pictured) had a lot of very tough questions for Labor’s Penny Wong on election night 2019

Annabel Crabb (pictured outside Parliament House) will be one of the presenters of ABC's election night coverage on Saturday

Annabel Crabb (pictured outside Parliament House) will be one of the presenters of ABC’s election night coverage on Saturday

But the show will go on without Ms Wong, with fellow frontbencher Tanya Plibersek taking her place on the Labor side of the table on Saturday. 

As Mr Sinodinos will be watching from Washington DC, the Senate leader Simon Birmingham will be Ms Plibersek’s opposition. 

As well as Sales, Probyn and Crabb, other ABC hosts on the night will include  Insiders presenter David Speers, Laura Tingle of 7.30 and numbers man Antony Green.

It remains to be seen if Ms Plibersek faces as tough a night as Ms Wong did three years ago.  

Antony Green (pictured) will be in charge of making sure ABC's numbers are correct in Saturday night's election coverage

Antony Green (pictured) will be in charge of making sure ABC’s numbers are correct in Saturday night’s election coverage

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