Foreign interference threats
Both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party are being targeted by foreign agents, according to the latest information from security services.
Australia’s Security Intelligence Organisation has identified issues surrounding people under the influence of foreign powers in political parties, as well as the danger of influencers, donations and other activities which are designed to interfere with Australia’s democratic processes.
The press has highlighted one case where a foreign government “puppeteer’’ to influence an election in Australia through the use of a local agent, an offshore bank account, and plans to back particular candidates with funding and positive stories in the local media.
State political parties and ultimately federal politics are the designed targets of foreign interference campaigns.
The anti-Chinese “Wolverine” group within the federal Liberal Party have become increasingly aware of activities though so far various Chinese actions relating to the Liberal Party have not been fully revealed.
Di Sanh “Sunny’’ Duong will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in March as the first person in Australia to be charged under the new foreign interference laws. He is alleged to have plotted unsuccessfully to influence several MPs including then Minister for Education Alan Tudge.
However, the interference and influence of foreign agents is much deeper and more pervasive. Besides obvious and sensational connections between MPs and foreign donors with their passive influence, there are several instances where MPs have been “got at” through other means.
“Although it doesn’t tend to get media coverage,” one commentator explained, “the Victorian Liberal Party has not been immune from foreign interference problems. Documents, investigations and reports reveal that some significant links of foreign interference have occurred on our doorstep.”
“There are several State MPs, one of which is Bruce Atkinson, who has been extensively involved in Chinese Government-backed organisations which have tentacles reaching into Australia. These facts are seldom admitted in public, though in confidence they have been cause of significant concern.”
“Foreign political interference does not just come into politics through MPs, but also has an interest in party organisations and the long term view of upcoming candidates. Information exists around at least one former Victorian Administrative Committee member who has unusual links to Chinese finances and has been noted on several occasions to make positive statements at party meetings about the Chinese government.”
“We all know of Daniel Andrews’ China connections. In some ways his government has been a puppet regime for China, including planning for huge Chinese investments in infrastructure, utalising staff with Chinese loyalties and acting in line with Chinese policy. It is well known in Canberra that Daniel Andrews’ COVID response was fully in line with the economic warfare plans controlled in Beijing.”
How much the sickening factionalism within the Victorian Liberal Party is related to foreign interference is yet to be fully plumbed. Already there have been some worrying indications that some MPs and party members have been connected to worrying or unusual operatives.
One party member said, “There’s always the prospect of the unknown hand behind events and particular individuals. There are more than a few instances where the truth is being suppressed because it would be very embarrassing for people who hold position of power.”
“You never quite know where to look. We have a big pharma agent currently in the role of Chief of Staff of the Opposition Leader’s Office. He’s been able to influence the party into surprising policy directions.”
“It’s always concerning when foreign interference can be felt somewhere like Warragul. I’ve been saying it for years, but at last people are waking up to the dangers our party and really democracy faces.”