Australian MP’s properties raided ‘amid China probe’
Authorities on Friday raided the home and office of an Australian MP who is facing an investigation by national security agencies over alleged links to China, the media reported.
Shaoquett Moselmane, a New South Wales (NSW) state politician, belongs to the opposition Labor Party, reports the BBC.
Police and intelligence agencies said there was an “ongoing investigation”, but did not give further details.
Labor leader, Jodi McKay, said possible allegations of Chinese government interference within Moselmane’s office were “dreadfully concerning”.
“This investigation needs to run its course. He will not sit in our caucus,” she told reporters on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he could not go into the details of the investigation but it had been “going on for some time”.
“The government is absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia’s activities,” he said.
“We will stand up to it. And we will take action, as what you’ve seen today demonstrates.”
Earlier, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed the raids in Sydney, the BBC reported.
“This activity does not relate to any specific threat to the community,” Asio said, adding it would not comment further.
The Sydney Morning Herald, which first reported the allegations, said the investigation had been running for months. No allegations had been proven, it added.
Relations between the two countries have been particularly fraught since Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the BBC report.
China has placed economic sanctions on Australia in recent weeks.
Australia passed sweeping new security and counter-espionage laws in 2018 aimed at preventing foreign interference in politics and other domestic affairs.
The package included a ban on foreign political donations, as a well as requirements to register foreign lobbyists on a register.