Australian intelligence officers raid lawmaker's premises over alleged China links

WION Web Team
Sydney Published: Jun 26, 2020, 10:24 AM(IST)

File photo of Australian police. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Jodi McKay, the leader of the party said that "investigation needs to run its course" while asserting that 'he will not sit in our caucus'.

Australia's counter-espionage agency raided the house of New South Wales state legislator Shaoquett Moselmane amid investigation into alleged Chinese influence in the country's political affairs.

Intelligence officers raided the properties linked to Moselmane in Rockdale, Sydney including his home and office over allegation of China's attempt to influence politicians in the country. 

There have been reports of Moselmane's alleged links to China as he recently praised Chinese President Xi Jinping's "unswerving" leadership during the COVID-19 crisis which was contrary to the Australian government's position.

Moselmane belongs to the opposition Labor Party. Jodi McKay, the leader of the party said that "investigation needs to run its course" while asserting that "he will not sit in our caucus".

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation(ASIO) confirmed that "ongoing investigation" was underway. Australia and China relations have nosedived in the past months amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had alleged that the country was under cyberattack by "sophisticated state-based cyber actor" hinting at China.

"This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure," Morrison said.

Earlier, Australia's foreign minister had accused China of contributing to a climate of "fear and division" over the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Twitter disclosed over 32,000 accounts as state-linked information operations, which the company attributed to Russia to China and to Turkey," Payne said.

Payne also labelled Beijing's warnings to citizens against travelling to Australia because of potential racist attacks as "disinformation".

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