ASIO raids NSW Labor MP's home amid allegations of Chinese infiltration

Mr Moselmane in April stood down as assistant president of the NSW upper house after praising Chinese President Xi Jinping's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Mr Moselmane in April stood down as assistant president of the NSW upper house after praising Chinese President Xi Jinping's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Officials from the Australian Security Intelligence Agency (ASIO) raided the home of Shaoquett Moselmane, a state politician in the opposition Labour party, on Thursday. Soon, six forensics officers also joined the search team.

She confirmed Mr Moselmane's membership of NSW Labor had been suspended and the upper house MP will no longer sit in the parliamentary caucus.

He was suspended from the Labor Party on Friday after his house and office were raided by agents from the Australian Federal Police in a joint-investigation with ASIO.

"The level of threat we face from foreign espionage and interference activities is now unprecedented", said Mike Burgess, ASIO's director-general in February, according to a Reuters report.

In April 2020, Moselmane had resigned as assistant president of the NSW Legislative Council following a report in the Herald and The Age.

Mr Moselmane lashed out at anti-China racism in Australia in an essay for the East China Normal University in February.

Australian authorities are also looking into a claim that China tried to recruit a Melbourne businessman and get him elected to parliament. However, he continued to serve as a member of parliament and a member of the Labor Party.

There are unconfirmed reports that one of Mr Moselmane's staff, who had allegedly been trained by the Chinese Communist Party, may also be involved.

He appointed John Zhang as a part-timer in his office in 2019.

The home of NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane is seen in Rockdale on Friday
The home of NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane is seen in Rockdale on Friday

In 2013, Mr Zhang travelled to Beijing for a propaganda training course organised by the Chinese Communist Party.

The ASIO is now probing if the Chinese Communist Party had influenced Zhang, Moselmane, or anyone else in Moselmane's office to conduct anti-Australia activities.

Scott Morrison issued a warning to foreign powers in the wake of this morning's raids.

Yesterday, the NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the Government would move a motion to suspend Mr Moselmane from Parliament until the matter was resolved.

'The Chinese government should be commended for the immediate action they took, ' he said.

The raids come amid worsening Australian-Chinese relations in recent weeks during which allegations and counter-allegations came from both sides.

Sources told the publication that when enough evidence is found in the ASIO investigation, there could be a prosecution within the alleged foreign interference to sway a serving politician.

Tensions with Beijing have been increasing in the past couple of years, as Australia has tightened counterespionage laws-making foreign interference in politics a criminal offense-and banned Chinese telecom companies Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from its next-generation 5G mobile network over cyberspying concerns.

Australia previous year created an intelligence task force to tackle the threat of foreign interference, driven by concerns Beijing is becoming bolder-particularly in Australia and New Zealand-with tools including political donations and media investments by Chinese affiliates. Registering names of foreign lobbyists also became compulsory.

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