China’s political influence
Australia is not immune to China’s influence. Australia’s spy agency ASIO are investigating reports that Chinese intelligence figures tried to plant agents in Federal Parliament.
Political leaders like Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have completely bought into China’s ideology. In his case, he has obtained the promise of over 50 billion of dollars of investment to build infrastructure and transit networks. Canberra has called this what it is: foreign interference.
China already has its hands on numerous assets in Australia, including the Darwin port, an airfield in Western Australia, farms in Victoria, tourist real estate in Queensland and buildings in New South Wales.
From time to time the more sinister side of China’s reach is felt. Former politician Sam Dastyari received bribes and businessman Huang Xiangmo has been exposed for corruption. Yet the Labor Party still aligns itself with Chinese influences, particularly Daniel Andrews, and Tim Pallas. Clive Hamilton has been working to expose these links.
Marty Mei is a senior adviser to Premier Andrews, and accompanies him on visits to China where the Premier is given the full treatment reserved for useful foreigners. Mei too has links with the United Front, including being named as a “special consultant” to the Shenzhen Association of Australia, known to be a front group. Marty Mei, and Andrews’ electorate officer, Nancy Yang, are members of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (Victoria) which is described by Chinese foreign interference experts as “the foremost United Front organisation in Victoria”.
New South Wales Labor politician Bob Carr and former Liberal trade minister Andrew Robb have both openly been connected to businesses and organisations tied to the CCP. In the case of Andrew Robb, he was exposed for receiving many hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Chinese run business front.
It has also been alleged that Liberal politician Gladys Liu is allegedly linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), though she has denied these accusations, and has in fact criticised Daniel Andrews for being involved with the Chinse Belt and Road Initiative.
The Victorian Liberal Party has some worrying signs of Chinese influence. Liberal Party elder Bruce Atkinson, a Victorian MP and former Upper House President, has similarly been connected to Chinese initiatives, including the World Trade United Foundation (WTUF).
Atkinson is unashamed of his involvement with the CCP front, even after numerous pictures and statements of his supporting these Chinese activities have been reported in the media. Yet this has not been mentioned once by the State Opposition.
Former Liberal Party candidate Di Sanh Duong has in fact been charged his direct connections to the CCP. According to other reports, Mr Duong, also known as Sunny Duong, is suspected to have links with Beijing’s overseas influence arm, the United Front Work Department. Mr Duong has been accused of trying to influence figures in the Victorian Liberal Party.
Another case with a tragic ending is that of Nick Zhao. Mr Zhao, a luxury car dealer and potential Liberal Party candidate is thought to have been executed by Chinese handlers after he refused to comply with them over infiltrating the Commonwealth Parliament.
A list of other lower level Chinese-connected operatives within the Victorian Liberal Party also exists, including Kelvin Ho and his business associates, former candidate and brothel owner John Hsu while a well known Liberal from the Burwood electorate is currently under investigation. Party Administrative Committee member Sean Armistead is a worrying scenario. An apologist for China, Armistead is accused of receiving a China-funded trip to Macau in about 2014, where he is alleged to have received Chinese financial inducements.
It is also a matter of public debate that The Greens, including former politician Lee Rhiannon, are connected to China, both ideologically and through supporter networks.