In­tel fig­ures’ Liu warn­ing

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - JAMES CAMP­BELL, AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY & TOM MINEAR

SE­NIOR Lib­er­als say they were told the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity had warned the party against pre­s­e­lect­ing Gla­dys Liu for the seat of Chisholm be­fore this year’s fed­eral poll.

Two Vic­to­rian state Lib­eral MPs and a for­mer se­nior staffer told The Daily Tele­graph they were told last year that “men in grey suits” had warned a se­nior party of­fi­cial there were con­cerns about Ms Liu’s links to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party and it would be un­wise for the Lib­er­als to pre­s­e­lect her.

The Hong Kong-born MP yes­ter­day said she should have cho­sen her words “bet­ter” in a train­wreck TV in­ter­view in which she couldn’t re­call be­ing a mem­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions linked to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

Ms Liu yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted to pre­vi­ous as­so­ci­a­tions with three groups with links to China’s covert po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence op­er­a­tions.

SE­NIOR Lib­er­als say they were told the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity had warned the party against pre­s­e­lect­ing Gla­dys Liu for the seat of Chisholm be­fore this year’s fed­eral poll.

Two Vic­to­rian state Lib­eral MPs and a for­mer se­nior staffer told The Daily Tele­graph they were told last year that “men in grey suits” had warned a se­nior party of­fi­cial there were con­cerns about Ms Liu’s links to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party and it would un­wise for the Lib­er­als to pre­s­e­lect her.

The Hong Kong-born MP yes­ter­day said she should have cho­sen her words “bet­ter” in a train­wreck TV in­ter­view, but hit out at “deeply of­fen­sive” ques­tions about her loy­alty to Aus­tralia.

La­bor called on Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son to as­sure vot­ers Ms Liu was a “fit and proper” per­son to be in Par­lia­ment af­ter rev­e­la­tions about her links to groups in­fa­mous for push­ing pro-Bei­jing pro­pa­ganda.

Ms Liu (pic­tured) yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted to pre­vi­ous as­so­ci­a­tions with three groups with links to China’s covert po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence op­er­a­tions.

The Tele­graph can now re­veal se­nior Lib­eral fig­ures talked about the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity’s con­cerns about Ms Liu with a party of­fi­cial in the lead-up to the Chisholm pre­s­e­lec­tion last Oc­to­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to some­one at the meet­ing, the party of­fi­cial said in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity sources had told him: “We can’t tell you what to do but we don’t think it would be a good idea.”

Sources said the party of­fi­cial had not said if the con­cerns had been raised by ASIO, but said they were led to be­lieve the party of­fi­cial had spo­ken to the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

The con­ver­sa­tion about po­ten­tial con­cerns came sev­eral months af­ter then-prime min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull with­drew from a Chi­nese New Year func­tion he was due to at­tend in Chisholm over con­cerns about the VIP guest list.

La­bor sen­ate leader Penny Wong yes­ter­day called on Scott Mor­ri­son to as­sure Aus­tralians Ms Liu was a “fit and proper” per­son to be in par­lia­ment, say­ing that it was the Lib­eral Party’s “Sam Dast­yari” test. Asked on Tues­day whether the party or a se­cu­rity agency had raised se­cu­rity con­cerns with her, Ms Liu said “no”.

Sen­ate cross­bencher Rex Pa­trick said yes­ter­day that Ms Liu needed to be in­ves­ti­gated.

La­bor se­na­tor Penny Wong went in jus­ti­fi­ably hard yes­ter­day on Lib­eral back­bencher Gla­dys Liu.

“There have been ques­tions raised for some time about whether Ms Liu is a fit and proper per­son to be in the Aus­tralian par­lia­ment,” Wong said, not­ing that An­drew Bolt’s Sky News in­ter­view with the MP only ended up rais­ing “more ques­tions”.

Liu’s now-cor­rected de­nial of be­ing a mem­ber of an or­gan­i­sa­tion linked to China’s for­eign in­ter­fer­ence op­er­a­tions is one is­sue. So too is Liu’s be­wil­der­ing — and also since cor­rected — char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of com­mu­nist

China as some kind of par­tic­i­pa­tory democracy.

Wong has de­scribed Liu’s case as a test for Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son. Again, Wong is cor­rect.

This mat­ter will not be re­solved by the gov­ern­ment com­par­ing Liu to way­ward La­bor par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, as oc­curred yes­ter­day.

It will be re­solved by pre­cisely de­ter­min­ing the ex­tent of her Chi­nese gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions and why Liu was ini­tially so ob­vi­ously eva­sive.

More ques­tions, in­deed. And Aus­tralia de­mands rapid and ac­cu­rate an­swers.

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