CCP attempts takeover of Australian politics

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is attempting to take over Australia’s political system.

Military and intelligence figures have in recent years warned that China is running influence agents, using espionage and foreign interference to gain influence.

Every politician and political party are being targeted.

Australia particularly has felt China’s hand because it is a medium-sized long-term friend of the USA. At peak trade in recent years, China was purchasing one third of Australian exports.

Senator Molan has recently pointed out that our dependence on China can mean that the tables can turn, and we need to diversify our options, build resilience and enhance self-reliance.

Within our culture, there are questions about the CCP’s influence in the universities, media, civic and not-for-profit groups.

The Chinese community in our large cities harbours at least 5% of people who have connections or sympathies with the CCP. This is intolerable.

A security intelligence expert has stated that there is an urgent need to build trust in Australia’s Chinese community so that agents and CCP connections can be brought to official attention.

“This is a long term scenario,” an intelligence academic explained, “Chinese authorities are trying to place themselves in a position of advantage by winning influence in political, social, business and media circles.

When a foreign power seeks to influence a country’s internal public debate and political system through unofficial channels in ways that are opaque, deceptive, or manipulative, we have entered the realm of sedition and warfare.

The CCP is a party-state system in pursuit of its strategic objectives without constraint. In Australia, China’s methods have included monetary inducements to politicians to change their stance on key issues; positions to former politicians and financial support for research institutes that carry a pro-Beijing line; threats to mobilize Chinese Australian voters to punish political parties who do not support Beijing’s policy preferences; infiltrating local grassroots organizations to give the appearance of broad support for Beijing and its policies within the Chinese Australian community; co-opting local Chinese-language media and civic organisations to promote narratives and individuals who are friendly to Beijing; and a variety of efforts to drown out or silence critics. These efforts are designed to remain hidden from public view, often arranged indirectly through proxies, in order to create a buffer between the CCP and their Australian operations.

These problems first came to a head when Huang Xiangmo, a billionaire property developer from China who came to Australia in 2011 and quickly gained permanent residency and political clout. Huang was a major political donor to both the Labor and Liberal parties and also gave generously to Australian universities. These activities embroiled former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr, leading him to become a public advocate for Bejing.

Huang was exposed in 2016 after he worked with Senator Sam Dastyari to promote and support CCP activities. The Dastyari affair launched a period of growing media investigations into the linkages between CCP-linked money and politicians, which uncovered that China-linked businesses were the largest donors to both the Labor and Liberal parties, donating more than $5.5 million between 2013 and 2015. It was also reported that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) had grown increasingly concerned about large Chinese political donors acting as agents on behalf of Beijing and that the head of the ASIO, Duncan Lewis, had personally warned top officials of the major political parties in late 2015 about several donors whose contributions may come “with strings attached” that could pose a risk national security. 

And the bombshell media stories kept coming. It emerged that a wealthy Chinese donor with close ties to the CCP, who would later be revealed to be Huang Xiangmo, threatened to cancel a promised $400,000 donation to the Labor party if the party did not soften its stance on the South China Sea.

These political scandals began to shed light on the range of ways that CCP-linked donors and proxies were seeking to exert influence, not just over political parties, but also academic campuses, research institutions, influential individuals, and groups within the ethnic Chinese community. One prominent former politician, former Trade Minister Andrew Robb, had been given a lucrative contracting deal worth $880,000 a year by a Chinese billionaire the day he left office.

The barrage of revelations and allegations of Chinese malign influence activities led to the Federal Government introducing new legislation which made a tougher stance on foreign interference.

In this context, ex-military MP, who had been brought up in a strong faith-based household, Andrew Hastie, made statements against the tyrannical Chinese regime. Hastie was consequently banned from China by the CCP.

A strong criticism of the CCP has also been made by conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The Victorian Liberal Party and Opposition, unlike their Federal counterparts, has not made any statement against China, and has remained silent on CCP activities in its own ranks.

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