Australian federal police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation yesterday raided the home and parliamentary office of a New South Wales (NSW) state politician in an investigation that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has linked to foreign interference.
NSW Labor Party leader Jodi Mackay said that she would be briefed by the federal police and the intelligence agency, who she said conducted the raids on the home and parliamentary office of Shaoquett Moselmane.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Moselmane had taken nine privately funded trips to China since entering the state parliament in 2009, with disclosure records showing that his transport and hospitality costs were often met by Chinese government officials or agencies.
McKay said that Moselmane’s party membership was being suspended and he would no longer sit in the Labor parliamentary caucus.
Mackay told reporters that the raids were “dreadfully concerning” and that a staff member of Moselmane who was not a Labor member was also caught up in the raids.
Moselmane has not made a public statement on the raids and his lawyers did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
He has not been accused of wrongdoing.
An intelligence agency representative said that it had conducted “search warrant activity” in Sydney as part of an investigation that “does not relate to any specific threat to the community.”
It did not provide any further details of the raids or the reason they took place.
NSW Legislative Council clerk David Blunt said that police executed a search warrant on Moselmane’s parliament office.
“The protocols have been followed rigorously and scrupulously throughout the day,” Blunt said.
It is unusual for the federal police to execute a search warrant inside the state parliament, he said.
Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, who authorized the search warrants for the intelligence agency, said in a statement that the Australian government “is sharply focused on activity in this area as evidenced by the complete rewrite of the laws applying to espionage and foreign interference and also foreign influence.”
Morrison said that the federal government was “absolutely determined to ensure that nobody interferes with Australia’s activities,” and the actions of the authorities “demonstrate that the threats in this area are real.”
Foreign interference legislation was passed in 2018, spurred in part by a classified report on Chinese influence activity in Australia and sparking anger from Beijing.
Earlier this year, Moselmane resigned as assistant president of the NSW parliament’s Legislative Council after praising Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional reporting by AP
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
CHANGE OF GUARD: Hsiao Bi-khim’s attendance at Joe Biden’s inauguration will come as a boost to those in Taiwan who feared that the new US administration would be less friendly than that of Donald Trump to the nation Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to attend US President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the US Capitol after she was invited by the US Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a news release issued by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US said last night. The news came as a surprise as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been reticent about the matter, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members had accused the Democratic Progressive Party administration of hedging its bets on the Republican Party. Asked about when Hsiao received the invitation, the ministry did not
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that