Peter Dutton maintains that he works day and night to protect the country from foreign interference, while China accuses Australia of a dysfunctional government. The Minister of Home Affairs says that the federal government is not naive about the risk of Beijing’s attempts to place a spy in the federal parliament.
Overnight briefings accused Chinese officers of lying on the supposed interference by Peking in international matters in parts of Australian politics and the media. The blow came after an ex-Chinese spy claimed political asylum following the publication of allegations of widespread Chinese interference in foreign countries, including Australia.
An official investigation into the allegations was opened by the Australian Federal Police. Beijing was suspected in a separate case of trying to position an intelligence officer in the Australian parliament. The domestic spy agency ASIO has reported that the charges are being closely investigated.
As the allegations of foreign interference revolve around the federal parliament, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned against “populist witch-hunting” or running to the shadows.
The government should keep an eye on every threat, not imaginary, of our political democracy, our constitutions and our critical infrastructure, according to him. To turn this into a form of racial discrimination is very straightforward.
He also added that if the latest National Security law becomes a political vehicle for “Hansonism” and a return to the Yellow Peril days, it will be the first to barricade.
Jennifer Westacott, Chief of the Business Council, said that foreign interference is an unquestionable risk, with no business exempt. But Australia’s intelligence and security agencies have served Ms. Westacott in good faith.
This is an ongoing threat and once you solve one question, a new one comes up. There are increasing demands for tougher measures to protect the federal government from foreign threats. Penny Wong, spokeswoman of the Opposition Foreign Affairs Committee wishes Labor a spy-threats briefing.
Senator Wong also urged the government to lead a discussion on the ties between Australia and China. She told ABC Radio that as a nation we have to work out how best to engage with China to ensure that we preserve our democracy and continue to engage in common interests. She believes the relevant agencies must investigate these latest allegations that are disturbing.