Shaoquett Moselmane: Australian lawmaker’s office raided ‘amid China investigation’

Shaoquett MoselmaneImage copyright


Shaoquett Moselmane has been a member of the New South Wales Parliament since 2009

An Australian lawmaker will be suspended from his party after reports that his office is facing an investigation by national security agencies into alleged ties to China.

Authorities raided the home and office of Shaoquett Moselmane, a New South Wales state politician, on Friday.

Police and intelligence agencies said it involved an “ongoing investigation,” but gave no further details.

Moselmane, of the opposition Labor Party, has yet to comment publicly.

Their leader, Jodi McKay, said media reports that the raids involved possible allegations of Chinese government interference within the Moselmane office were “terribly concerning.”

“This investigation needs to run its course. He will not sit in our group,” he told reporters on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he could not go into the details of the investigation, but had “continued for some time.”

“The government is absolutely determined to ensure that no one interferes with Australia’s activities,” he said.

“We will face it. And we will take action, as demonstrated today.”

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Previously, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (Asio) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed the raids in Sydney.

“This activity is not related to any specific threat to the community,” Asio said, adding that he would not comment further.

The Sydney Morning Herald, which first reported the allegations, said the investigation had been running for months. No allegations have been proven, the newspaper reported.

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Mr Moselmane’s office in the New South Wales House of Parliament was raided by police on Friday

Relations between Canberra and Beijing have been particularly difficult since Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. China has imposed economic sanctions on Australia in recent weeks.

It also follows years of debate over alleged Chinese attempts to influence Australian politics: claims that Beijing has consistently denied and rejected as “hysteria”

Australia passed radical new security and counterintelligence laws in 2018 aimed at preventing foreign interference in politics and other internal affairs.

The package included a ban on foreign political donations, as well as requirements for registering foreign lobbyists in a registry.

In 2017, an Australian senator was forced to resign after scrutiny of his dealings with a Chinese businessman.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also warned that government agencies and companies were facing an increase in cyber attacks by a “state actor”, in comments widely interpreted as targeting China.