An Australian politician whose home and office were raided by the federal police and an intelligence agency said the probe was part of a foreign interference investigation focused on China and that he was not a suspect and had done nothing wrong.
Australia in 2018 passed foreign interference legislation, spurred in part by a classified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) report on Chinese influence activity, sparking anger from Beijing.
On Friday morning, federal police searched New South Wales (NSW) state politician Shaoquett Moselmane’s home and parliamentary office in an investigation that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison linked to foreign interference.
“The investigation is into certain other people allegedly advancing the goals of a foreign government, namely the People’s Republic of China,” Moselmane told a news conference yesterday.
“My allegiance is first and foremost to Australia,” Moselmane said.
An ASIO representative on Friday said the agency had conducted “search warrant activity” in Sydney as part of an investigation that “does not relate to any specific threat to the community.” ASIO did not provide any further details of the raids or the reason they took place.
Moselmane earlier this year attracted criticism from fellow Australian politicians for praising Chinese President Xi Jinping’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have done nothing wrong,” Moselmane said.
Moselmane is a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition in NSW.
“I have no access or knowledge ... on any of the laws or secrets of the state. Nor was there any campaign on my part to change the ALP’s China policy,” he said.
Moselmane said that while there had been much talk about his travels to China, he had never been on a Chinese government-sponsored trip.
He said that six out of nine trips he had taken to China involved the delivery of wheelchairs to children for a charity he was involved in and that he had paid for his airfares and accommodation.
Moselmane said he was someone who spoke up for the Chinese community, as well as the “downtrodden,” including Palestinians and Rohingya Muslims.
He said he had questioned China’s representative in Australia directly about the treatment of Uighurs in China.
Australia’s ties with China, its largest trading partner, have become strained after Canberra pushed for an international inquiry into the source and spread of the coronavirus that first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China has imposed dumping tariffs on Australian barley, suspended some beef imports and warned its students and tourists against travel to the country, citing racism accusations.
Australia believes China is behind a spate of recent cyberattacks, three sources familiar with the government’s thinking said earlier this month. Beijing has dismissed the suggestion.
Choosing a full-fledged confrontation with the US due to the loss of a megacontract for submarines for Australia, France is making a risky bet and other nations are not rushing to its defense. After Australia renounced its deal for conventional submarines in favor of US nuclear-powered ones, France took the extraordinary step of pulling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations. Bertrand Badie, an international relations professor at the Sciences Po institute in Paris, said France had put itself in a position where it can only appear to be backing down or losing face once its ambassador returns to the US,
Could delivering COVID-19 immunity directly to the nose — the area of the body via which it is mostly transmitted — help conquer the pandemic? The WHO says clinical trials are under way to evaluate eight nasal spray vaccines that target COVID-19. The most advanced effort so far by China’s Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy has completed phase 2 trials. “When the virus infects someone, it usually gets in through the nose,” said researcher Nathalie Mielcarek, who is working with the Lille Pasteur Institute to develop a nasal spray vaccine against whooping cough. “The
PLANNING TO REOPEN: Amid 1,607 new COVID-19 cases, the country is making a shift away from lockdowns, acknowledging that outbreaks will happen Australia reported 1,607 new coronavirus cases yesterday as states and territories gradually shift from trying to eliminate outbreaks to living with the virus. Victoria, home to about a quarter of Australia’s 25 million people, recorded 507 cases as Premier Daniel Andrews said a weeks-long lockdown will end once 70 percent of those 16 and older are fully vaccinated, whether or not there are new cases. Andrews said the state might reach that vaccination threshold around Oct. 26. About 43 percent of Victorians have been fully vaccinated, 46 percent nationwide. “We will do so cautiously, but make no mistake, we are opening this place
‘SMOKESCREEN’: An agreement to declare an end to the Korean War would be ‘of no help at all’ and used to cover up ‘US hostile policy,’ a North Korean official said The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un yesterday said it was “admirable” of South Korea to propose a formal end to the Korean War, but demanded Seoul first drop its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang. Kim Yo-jong’s remarks, carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, were in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent calls for declaring an official end to the 1950-1953 conflict that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war for more than half a century. In a speech at the UN General Assembly earlier this week, Moon proposed