onsdag 1. juli 2020

High stakes as Australia tests foreign interference laws, with China in its sights

Australia’s anti-foreign interference laws are being tested for the first time, two years after their passage amid warnings of “unprecedented” espionage, amid a probe that has seen authorities raid the homes and offices of a China-friendly state MP and his former staffer. Searches by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) last week on properties connected to New South Wales Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane and his former staffer John Zhang have focused scrutiny on Canberra’s sweeping counter-intelligence legislation introduced in 2018 amid fears of interference by Beijing.

While authorities have declined to comment publicly, Moselmane’s office is at the centre of inquiries by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) into whether the MP or his staff have been targeted by covert influence operations on behalf of Beijing, according to reports in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, citing anonymous sources.