Shaoquett Moselmane, Member of Parliament from New South Wales (NSW), Australia, is in the news after his office and home were raided by national security agencies over allegations of his links to China. Former Labor Party MP, Moselmane's two-storey house in Rockdale, in Sydney's south was raided by a dozen plain-clothed federal agents including the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) at 6.30 a.m. (Australian time) on Friday. Soon, six forensics officers also joined the search team.
After the news of the raid on Moselmane's house and office broke, he was suspended from the Labor party. Party leader Jodi McKay called the party's general secretary Bob Nanva and asked him to take immediate action against Moselmane. To ensure fair and faster probe, Attorney-General Christian Porter has authorized ASIO to gather evidence of any person suspected of seeking to influence Moselmane or his staff on behalf of the Chinese government. ASIO has confirmed that this raid doesn't pose any specific threat to the community.
In April 2020, Moselmane had resigned as assistant president of the NSW Legislative Council following a report in the Herald and The Age. The report revealed details about his essay, "Re-emergence of the obsolete scum of white Australia," written in February. The essay had criticized Australia's mainstream media as anti-Chinese and praised China for measures during the coronavirus crisis. However, he continued to serve as a member of parliament and a member of the Labor Party.
Shawquett Moselmane And Controversies
Moselmane also was involved in a controversial speech in 2019 where he said that a new world order was needed for China to reach its potential. Moselmane reportedly traveled to China nine times on privately funded trips after he became an MP in 2009. It is said that the cost of his travel as a stay was paid by Chinese government officials.
He appointed John Zhang as a part-timer in his office in 2019. Chinese websites have details that Zhang was part of a propaganda training course in 2013 conducted by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office. This office is said to have merged with the Chinese Communist Party's opaque influence agency, the United Front Work Department (UFWD) in 2018.
The ASIO is currently probing if the Chinese Communist Party had influenced Zhang, Moselmane, or anyone else in Moselmane's office to conduct anti-Australia activities.
Moselmane is also known to have criticized Australia's new counter-foreign interference laws during an interview with Chen Hong, director of the East China Normal University Australia Studies Center, in Shanghai. The Center names Zhang as a researcher and Moselmane as a guest professor. It is said that Professor Chen is closely connected to the Chinese Communist Party and is a prolific critic of Australian government policy.
Preventing Foreign Influence in Australian Politics
Relations between Australia and China turned sour ever since Australia sought an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. Following this, China placed economic sanctions on Australia. In fact, there have been discussions about alleged attempts by China to influence Australian politics.
Australia even passed new security and counter-espionage laws in 2018 that aimed at preventing foreign interference in politics and other domestic affairs of the country. According to this law, there was a ban on foreign political donations. Registering names of foreign lobbyists also became compulsory.
ASIO has been probing for months to see if agents supported by Chinese governments have infiltrated the office of Moselmane to influence Australian politics. New South Wales MP, Shaoquett Moselmane has been suspended from Labor Party after his house, the office was raised by national security agencies over his allegations of links to China.