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Australian Lawmaker Ousted From Party After Report of China Links

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 6 days ago Jason Scott
a sign on a sidewalk near a fence: The Chinese national flag and the Chinese Communist Party flag hang on display at a park commemorating General Mu Shengzhong, also known as the father of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, in Golmud, Qinghai province, China, on Sunday, July 22, 2018. Amid rising fears about a trade war, China's policy makers have unveiled measures to boost infrastructure construction and credit to smaller firms, as well as tax cuts. © Bloomberg The Chinese national flag and the Chinese Communist Party flag hang on display at a park commemorating General Mu Shengzhong, also known as the father of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, in Golmud, Qinghai province, China, on Sunday, July 22, 2018. Amid rising fears about a trade war, China's policy makers have unveiled measures to boost infrastructure construction and credit to smaller firms, as well as tax cuts.

(Bloomberg) -- A state lawmaker in Australia’s New South Wales will be suspended from his party amid a media report that intelligence officials are investigating alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party.

New South Wales Labor leader Jodi McKay told reporters in Sydney on Friday that search warrants had been executed on the home and office of the party’s lawmaker, Shaoquett Moselmane.

“It is dreadfully concerning, it is terrible,” McKay said. “I have asked the general secretary of the party to begin suspending his membership of the Labor Party.”

A call to Moselmane’s office wasn’t answered, and there was no immediate response to an email seeking comment.

The Australian Federal Police said in an emailed statement on Friday it could “confirm it is executing search warrants in Sydney this morning as part of an ongoing investigation.” It didn’t provide further details.

‘Extremely Serious’

Earlier on Friday, the Sydney Morning Herald -- citing “multiple sources aware of the foreign interference investigation” that it didn’t identify -- reported that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was conducting a sweeping investigation into allegations Chinese government agents have infiltrated the office of Moselmane.

Australia is in the midst of a diplomatic spat with its largest trading partner China after calling for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus. In 2018 it passed an anti-foreign interference law it said was aimed at stopping Beijing’s “meddling”’ in its governments, media and education sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday the investigations were “extremely serious.”

“The actions of the Australian Federal Police and ASIO demonstrate that the threats in this area are real,” Morrison said. “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 opportunity for an outside actor.”

(Updates with comments from PM Morrison in eighth paragraph)

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