THE ENEMY WITHIN
ASIO raids NSW Labor over Beijing ‘infiltration’
LABOR is in crisis with ASIO raids on one of its MPs and a staffer amid an investigation into allegations of infiltration by agents acting for Beijing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after the raids on state MP Shaoquett Moselmane’s home and Parliament House office the threat of foreign interference was “extremely serious” and “real”.
“We won’t cop anyone coming and seeking to interfere in our political system, in our energy sector, in any area of perceived opportunity,” the PM said.
A MASSIVE ASIO investigation is underway into allegations Chinese agents and intelligence operatives have infiltrated the office of NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a string of co-ordinated AFP raids conducted on behalf of ASIO on Mr Moselmane’s
home and Parliament House office showed the threat of foreign interference was “extremely serious” and “real”.
“The need to take action is necessary and the government is absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia’s activities,” Mr Morrison said.
The investigation is considered “ongoing” and has also examined Mr Moselmane’s staffer John Zhang who Nine newspapers last year revealed took a Beijing propaganda course run by the Chinese Communist Party in 2013. One source told The Saturday Telegraph the investigation could still widen.
AFP officers swooped on the Rockdale home of Mr Moselmane from 6.30am yesterday, before then arriving at his level 11 office at NSW Parliament House, where the Upper House MP spent most of the day.
Special protocols were in place to ensure the raid complied with parliamentary privilege requirements, with NSW parliament Clerk David Blunt or his deputy present from 11am until the raid was completed.
Mr Moselmane returned home at about 8.30pm last night after spending almost 12 hours at Parliament House.
The raids were also undertaken at a business and personal address of Mr Zhang.
Mr Morrison confirmed he’d been briefed on the raids Thursday night, saying: “The need to take action is necessary and the government is absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia’s activities.
“We won’t cop anyone coming and seeking to interfere in our political system, in our energy sector, in any area of perceived area of opportunity for an outside actor.
“We won’t cop it. We are a resilient people. We will stand up to it. And we will take action, as what you’ve seen today demonstrates.”
Just last month Mr Moselmane, who has been a strong public supporter of China, praised the Chinese handling of the coronavirus.
He was also caught warning “the obsolete scum of White Australia” has reemerged in an opinion piece in which he also attacked Australia’s media as anti-Chinese and praised China’s COVID-19 leadership. It resulted in him being forced to resign as assistant president of the Legislative Council.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay asked for Mr Moselmane’s membership of the Labor Party to be suspended yesterday, which was moved on quickly by Sussex Street.
“It’s dreadfully concerning. It’s terrible. There is an expectation on MPs that whatever they do is in the best interest of this state,” Ms McKay said at a press conference.
“I believe there’s one other person of interest that was a staff member, but we’re trying to figure out if he’s a member of the Labor Party. If he is, his membership will be suspended as well,” Ms McKay said.
NSW Police Minster David Elliott called on Mr Moselmane to be expelled by the ALP and to resign from parliament immediately.
The Labor MP has taken 10 trips to China in the space of nine years.
He has also been described by former foreign minister and former NSW premier
Bob Carr as a “friend”.
Mr Carr did not comment yesterday, nor would former Labor upper house MP and friend of Mr Moselmane Ernest Wong, who was last year hauled before ICAC over his own Chinese links.
It comes almost three years after Senator Sam Dastyari quit over connections with China.
Former NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain resigned last year over a Chinese donations scandal.
Shaoquett Moselmane arrives home after spending the day at NSW parliament (main) and returns inside (right). Pictures: Jonathan Ng, APP
The AFP raid the office of Shaoquett Moselmane (left) and the MP meets Communist official Mrs Jie Ju in 2015 on a trip to China.