SYDNEY | Police and intelligence officers australian made Friday a search of the home and in the office of a local elected representative of the labour opposition, in the context of an investigation related to suspicions of interference by the chinese in Australia, authorities said.
Member of the legislative Council of the State of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, Shaoquett Moselmane has long been known to be an ardent supporter of Beijing, a position that has often elicited the astonishment within the labour Party.
The australian agency for counter-intelligence, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), confirmed to AFP that the raids were taking place “in Sydney as part of an ongoing investigation”, refusing to give further details.
Without explicitly mentioning the case of Mr Moselmane, the conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison has warned that his country was determined to “stand” against any attempt at foreign interference.
“The threats in this domain are real, and the need to act is also”, he said. “We will not let anyone come and try to interfere in our political system.”
Mr Moselmane had particularly welcomed the leadership “steadfast” chinese president Xi Jinping during the crisis of the sars coronavirus, in the opposition to the policy of the conservative government in australia.
Some media also report that he has hired a staff member trained at the chinese Academy of governance, a Beijing-forming members of the communist Party of china (CPC) called upon to work in the public service.
The head of the labor Party in New South Wales Jodi McKay told reporters that she had been informed of the raids, stating that it had launched the procedure to suspend Mr Moselmane of the party.
“It is very worrying”, she said. “It is important that each member of Parliament is dedicated to the people of his State”.
This operation illustrates again the willingness of Australia to address the accusations of interference in china that have contributed to the deterioration of relations between the two countries.
Australia had announced in December the creation of a working group dedicated to the fight against foreign interference, so that the body of charges of espionage operations conducted by China on the huge island continent.
This announcement was made a week after the charges of explosive of Wang Liqiang, Chinese 26-year-old posing as an ex-spy who defected in Australia.
This man had been presented by the australian press group Nine as a defector who revealed the counter-espionage service australia the manner in which Beijing conducts undercover operations and interference in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.
Shortly before that, the ex-head of counter-espionage in australia, Duncan Lewis, who resigned in September, had accused Beijing of wanting to “take control” of the politicians via “espionage and interference”.
It was, inter alia cited the case of former senator and labor’s Sam Dastyari, who had been forced to resign in 2018 according to press reports according to which it had affected tens of thousands of dollars from a donor related to the PCC.