ASIO raids political party over Beijing ‘infiltration’
A massive ASIO investigation is underway into allegations Chinese agents and intelligence operatives have infiltrated the office of NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a string of co-ordinated AFP raids conducted on behalf of ASIO on Mr Moselmane's home and Parliament House office showed the threat of foreign interference was "extremely serious" and "real".
"The need to take action is necessary and the government is absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia's activities," Mr Morrison said.
The investigation is considered "ongoing" and has also examined Mr Moselmane's staffer John Zhang who Nine newspapers last year revealed took a Beijing propaganda course run by the Chinese Communist Party in 2013.
One source told The Saturday Telegraph the investigation could still widen.
AFP officers swooped on the Rockdale home of Mr Moselmane from 6.30am Friday, before then arriving at his level 11 office at NSW Parliament House, where the Upper House MP spent most of the day.
Special protocols were in place to ensure the raid complied with parliamentary privilege requirements, with NSW Parliament Clerk David Blunt or his deputy present from 11am until the raid was completed.
Investigators stayed at Mr Moselmane's home all day collecting evidence, and brought an investigative dog to the site for an hour to help AFP agents.
Officers turned away several family members who attempted to step through the front door on Friday afternoon.
As night fell, officers were also seen inspecting the home's backyard with torches.
At 6.30pm last night, the raids were still ongoing at both Parliament House and Mr Moselmane's home.
They were also undertaken at a business and personal address of Mr Zhang.
Mr Moselmane returned to his Rockdale home about 8.30pm on Friday after spending almost 12 hours at NSW Parliament House under police guard.
He did not respond to questions as he left his car and entered his home, where he was greeted at the door by AFP investigators still inside.
Mr Morrison confirmed he'd been briefed on the raids Thursday night, saying: "The need to take action is necessary and the government is absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia's activities.
"We won't cop anyone coming and seeking to interfere in our political system, in our energy sector, in any area of perceived area of opportunity for an outside actor.
"We won't cop it. We are a resilient people. We will stand up to it. And we will take action, as what you've seen today demonstrates."
Just last month Mr Moselmane, who has been a strong public supporter of China, praised the Chinese handling of the coronavirus.
He was also caught warning "the obsolete scum of white Australia" has re-emerged in an opinion piece in which he also attacked Australia's media as anti-Chinese and praised China's COVID-19 leadership.
It resulted in him being forced to resign as assistant president of the Legislative Council.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay asked for Mr Moselmane's membership of the Labor Party to be suspended on Friday, which was moved on quickly by Sussex Street.
She stopped short of asking for his expulsion.
"It's dreadfully concerning. It's terrible. There is an expectation on MPs that whatever they do is in the best interest of this state," Ms McKay said at a press conference.
"I believe there's one other person of interest that was a staff member, but we're trying to figure out if he's a member of the Labor Party. If he is, his membership will be suspended as well," Ms McKay said.
NSW Police Minster David Elliott called on Mr Moselmane to be expelled by the ALP and to resign from parliament immediately.
The Labor MP has taken 10 trips to China in the space of nine years.
He has also been described by former foreign minister and former NSW premier Bob Carr as a "friend".
Mr Carr did not comment on Friday, nor would former Labor upper house MP and friend of Mr Moselmane Ernest Wong who was last year hauled before ICAC over his own Chinese links.
It comes almost three years after Senator Sam Dastyari quit over connections with China. Former NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain resigned last year over a Chinese donations scandal.
LINKS TO BEIJING IN PLANE SIGHT
Jet-setting MP Shaoquett Moselmane has been a frequent visitor of China, having visited at least 10 times in nine years as a parliamentarian, often paid for by Beijing or other local Chinese governments.
In 2018 the Rockdale-based politician boasted to the state parliament, "I have visited China 15 times since my first trip in 1997".
A solicitor by training, Mr Moselmane, 55, is married to Japanese woman Mika Fukuta, 52, an immigration agent, and is also head or a member of several local Chinese groups linked to Beijing's infamous propaganda network United Front.
In one trip in 2015 he posed for photographs with Jie Ju who sits on the Chinese Political Consultative Conference, the peak body which directs United Front work.
According to the US Congress security committee, the Chinese Political Consultative Conference is "the highest ranking entity overseeing the United Front system".
Mr Moselmane grew up in Beirut until the age of 12, as one of a dozen children, then the family migrated to Rockdale. He joined the ALP at 17 and says his family helped get the ALP premier Barrie Unsworth elected with just 56 votes.
In his maiden speech he thanked Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi for their "friendship and support over ... two decades".
His staffer John Zhang, also known as Zhang Zhisen, has also completed a United Front propaganda training course in Beijing. Mr Zhang arrived in Australia in 1987 and his biography says he's been active in many local groups and was on the editorial board of the Australian Chinese Yearbook.
When Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited Australia and patriotic youth were deployed as street soldiers, Mr Zhang served as "logistics commander".
Both Mr Moselmane and Mr Zhang were the target of AFP raids on Friday.
Mr Moselmane is no stranger to controversy.
He blocked a Jewish community leader from attending an ALP function, made anti-Jewish remarks including saying those defending Israel are "cancerous", has told parliament that Australians are racists and written essays for Chinese universities saying we are "white scum".
In one infamous 2018 speech exposed by The Daily Telegraph, Mr Moselmane claimed "China will not be satisfied within an existing world order with rules designed to favour the West" and said "the rules have to change".
He became a Rockdale mayor and then was parachuted into his Upper House spot to fill an ALP vacancy in December 2009 - ironically caused by Henry Tsang being kicked out after failing to declare gifts and accommodation from a Chinese-backed construction group.
His pecuniary interests are filled with lists of gifts, hospitality, assistance and other favours from foreign governments in China - including a free Huawei phone handed over in Shanghai.
And he is or has been the head or founder of organisations who are involved in the United Front, including the Shanghainese Association and the Australian Chinese Association.
Originally published as ASIO raids NSW Labor over Beijing 'infiltration'