Labor follows Dastayari into the Chinese trap

Via the AFR:

A top former intelligence official believes there is evidence that Labor senator Sam Dastyari was deliberately targeted by the China government to advance its interests in Australia.

“There is evidence that he may have been recruited as an agent of influence,” said Ross Babbage, a former head of strategic analysis at the Office of National Assessments, the government’s peak intelligence adviser. “That’s my belief.”

Being an “agent of influence” doesn’t mean the 34-year-old senator was spying for Beijing. Instead, it refers to a global campaign to build long-term support for China and its policies, and collect information, around the world through business and political relationships.

Senator Dastyari resigned as deputy opposition whip last week after it was reported he told a Chinese businessman who has cultivated ties with Australian politicians, Huang Xiangmo, that his phone might have been tapped and he advocated for China’s position on the South China Sea against his own party’s policy.

Mr Huang until recently was president of a lobby group that intelligence experts believe is part of a global campaign run by the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which seeks to advance the party’s political interests.

Mr Huang has previously denied he has done any work for the United Front Work Department.

“Dastyari is clearly developing a close relationship,” with Chinese interests, said Dr Babbage, now an Australia-based senior fellow at a US think tank, the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “But they are very heavily involved in this activity which is part of the United Front Work Department and directly controlled by it.

And he’s still in parliament. Is this why? At Domainfax:

Labor leader Bill Shorten visited Huang Xiangmo at his Sydney mansion to secure political donations several months after Labor officials were warned the controversial business figure was of interest to ASIO over links to the Chinese government.

Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Shorten – along with his family – travelled to the tycoon’s Mosman home in March 2016, seeking help to fund Labor campaign ads for the widely expected double dissolution election in July.

The visit was well after a 2015 briefing where representatives of the three major parties – including the then ALP national secretary George Wright – were warned by ASIO of Chinese interference in Australian politics via massive cash donations. During the briefings, ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis told party officials the agency was concerned about Mr Huang’s opaque ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

I mean, WTF? We’ve got former foreign minister Bob Carr running around attacking the US and defending China at every opportunity from a perch in a think tank founded with Mr Huang’s dough (since resigned).

Paul Keating is likewise living in the eighties with endless declarations  of “Asian engagement” that has long since passed its use by date.

The entire party supports mass immigration to the ends of the earth with no policy redress for what will be the outcome, a burgeoning Chinese economic influence that will overrun strategic orientation. It is also resisting the current push by Coalition to enter the Indo-Pacific democratic Quadrilateral.

Yes, the Chinese dough has percolated the Coalition as well but it’s instincts are stronger for the US alliance, which is what this is all about. Today:

The Turnbull government will ban foreign donations to Australian political parties, introduce new laws targeting spies and foreign interference, toughen laws that ban disclosure of classified information and make it a crime to support foreign intelligence agencies.

The sweeping package of counter-intelligence law changes, which follows a lengthy review led by Attorney-General George Brandis and which is designed to stop interference in Australia’s democratic institutions, will be released in the final week of Parliament for 2017.

And more:

A reconvened security grouping comprising Australia, the United States, India and Japan is seeking to bolster infrastructure lending across the region, in an effort to counter China’s use of major projects to gain influence.

The Australian Financial Review has been told the proposal was discussed when the reformed group met for the first time on the sidelines of the East Asian Forum in Manila last month.

“They want to ensure there is another option on the table to fund infrastructure, not just what the Chinese are offering,” said one personal familiar with the discussion who asked not to be named.

Labor and China are not so obviously separable at this juncture.

Houses and Holes
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  1. Is there such a thing as a ‘Minsky Moment’ for the type of Chinese invasion we are experiencing ?

    I myself will be looking at Portugal and Spain in case an escape is necessary, Ireland too is a possibility.

    • Well people from my and other tennis clubs are suddenly talking about it and without my prompting. They are disgusted, even angry at the polticians of all the major parties. It’s happened so fast I’m bloody amazed.

      • Penny Wong’s accusation that laws not allowing Chinese to by farmland was discriminatory hackled my hairs. I could not believe such diatribe. Then some of her other comments, which are public, somewhat, are equally shocking.

        She is totally compromised IMHO.

      • She – a so-called “Labor” rep – sold out Australian workers and Australian sovereignty when she gave her full support to the Chinese Australia “Free Trade” Agreement (Chafta) after a few worthless “protective” amendments were made to it. But it was the NLP government minister Andrew Robb who negotiated and signed that massive sell out to China and then promptly retired before getting a cushy job on the board of a Chinese company. Shows both sides are as good as each other. VOTE SUSTAINABLE AUSTRALIA.

      • Do you listen to the Adventures in Finance podcast? The second part of this weeks episode was relevant – talking about Game Theory and the concept of the Missionary. The same concept is presented here:
        Basically, we might all privately believe that our politicians are captured by vested interests – in this case Chinese donors. But we don’t get angry (or whatever) until we believe that everyone else also believes it. And now, that seems to be the case.

    • Our planned move back home is certainly becoming easier and easier as time goes by.

      Australia’s location is too close to Asia to escape the influence. Only a Chinese collapse can avoid Australia becoming a Chinese vassal state.

      • I’m not sure where you are from but China has extensive influence operations in countries like the UK, Canada, NZ, and the EU.
        Don’t think that Australia is the only country China is going for. They want it all. Their stated goal is now global dominance by 2050.
        This ain’t no conspiracy theory. it came out of Xi Jinping’s own mouth at the CCP conference in October.

        No country is going to ‘escape the influence’ if Xi Jinping has his way.

      • @Gramus – yes, but the EU is 500, not 24 million strong. The diversified economies also offer much more resilience vs the commodities focused, single customer economy here. I’d rather take my chances over there.

  2. WTF indeed. And there is heaps of political mileage in this for the Tories. Dastyari and Huong May be Turnbull’s Tampa…

  3. The next election campaign will in part be wrapped around accusations of loyalty/treachery.

    The government proposed some sort of ‘gentlemans agreement’ back in July about S44 – apparently 100% sure there was more dirt on the ALP side than theirs. The government has obviously underestimated the extent of their own culpability and the High Court determination but they have always claimed there were ‘smokies’ in the ALP ranks.

    The Dastayari event has been a godsend for Malcolm, and the LNP (more the Liberals than the Nationals though) are also into Chinese funds up to their eyeballs. There is talk within the LNP side that a key area of focus for them is the State ALP governments. There is also some talk that Commonwealth government land disposal processes have also been influenced by China funds.

    This next campaign is going to be seriously ugly.

    • The dirtier the better. There are plenty of photos, lists of donations, glorious foundations, thinks tanks and foreign funded academic institutions for both sides to throw at each other. .Foreign influence and money in “our” politics needs to be made radioactive.

    • The next election’s gonna be like a kid from a divorced family trying to choose between living with his abusive father or druggy mother.

  4. Can anyone read this paywalled or got a link to a similar story elsewhere?

    from the Australian

    “The Daily Telegraph reports today Mr Huang’s former adviser has joined John Alexander’s campaign team for the Bennelong by-election. Tim Xu was reportedly advising Mr Huang during the time he was warned by Senator Dastyari that his phone might be tapped by Australian intelligence agencies.”

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Yep, get rid of them. They are now more obviously the commie party than ever. We need to shut down that turd digger who keeps coming on here to recruit for them!! Time to start encouraging LNP votes!!

      • Entirely agree. That should be the sensible way forward, and the way every sensible one of us talk about this. Get rid of BOTH OF THEM.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        The ALP only has 53,000 members!
        Much easier to take it over,…. than to get a “New Party” into Government,…that would take millions of swinging votes,…millions.
        The ALP could be taken over by a small fraction of that number!

        Handing out flyers at Bennelong pre polling,…I stated to half a dozen members, that I thought Dastayari should resign or be expelled from the party,…all but one, agreed with me.

        So,…Come on you sooky malcontents…we need you to stop complaining and help reform the Peoples Party !

      • EP – “The ALP only has 53,000 members! Much easier to take it over,…” well I think the concern is that that is what the CCP has already worked out. Just out of interest, how did your party move Mark Arbib on? When it turned out that he was covertly briefing the US embassy on ALP matters I thought his days as a Labor rep must be numbered. Surely a similar thing will happen to Sam now that he has been outed.

  5. Simple fix is for Labor to put a price list on their website so we know how much influence you get by $.

    • haha, I hate it when you got to a website and they don’t list prices. I definitely agree, we need prices.

  6. What was that Sun Szu quote ‘if you wait by the river long enough the body of your enemy will eventually float by’
    This just confirms people’s suspicions about shorten. All of a sudden Tony Dumb dumb is looking like the best option for PM. One Nation could’ve capitalised on the rage but blew it.

    • And possibly from Sun Tzu that you want to find your enemies soft flank.

      China is Labor’s soft flank.

      Good on HnH for opening them up.

      Also another reason not to be complacent that we can take it easy on negative gearing because Labor has adopted the policy. At this rate they will stuff up the next election and that’s another whole term of negative gearing and capital gains discounts for investors.

      • I would phrase it the other way. The Chinese have identified Labor as Australia’s soft flank and are opening it up…

        Either way let Labor burn burn burn burn burn

  7. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Just another reason why Mr Bill is a rat of a loser and why Mr Malcolm is a way better leader and will hopefully win the next election!

    • SupernovaMEMBER

      Turnbull might pickup a while from Barnaby’s huge bi-election WIN, although its no news on this site…..perhaps what helped was when he said “running a country is far more difficult that moving sheep through a gate”…… Well at least he knows the gender of the sheep!

  8. So I guess if the conservative side of politics is happy to corrupt our intelligence services via targeted leaks, it won’t mind when the same is done to them post the next election? How did the port of Darwin sale go down? What has the government been up to with Adani? So much intelligence to leak…..

    This is the black-hole that has been opened up. I’ve barely seen anyone ask how Dastyari came to have the sensitive information, nor how the information regarding Dastyari made it into the media. I’m assuming that most of the Gallery knows, but just isn’t telling us.

    This is all particularly galling considering that during the Howard government then Foreign Minister Downer would make his way directly to the US Embassy with sensitive Cabinet document post meetings. Last time I checked the USA is a foreign power with its own interests separate to ours.

    • Relevant Stakeholder

      Why are you upset about this? finding out who the traitors are on both sides of politics is the best outcome for the Australian people.

      It’s not a black hole… it’s a beautiful, bright shining light!

  9. I’m not surprised, just more disgusted than ever. I’ve already made my mind up not to vote for majors. It’s just one revelation after the other that shows they believe in different ideals than the general population, but they are screwing the country for their own benefit.

    • “Ive already made my mind up not to vote for the Majors…”
      if you want to cast a valid vote then you MUST vote for the Majors, even if you put them last.
      Unfortunatly they still get in because of compulsary preferential voting.
      40% of voters want to see a complete overhaul of the electoral system, I am one of them, but how do we achieve this?
      I have in the past and still do advocate for a Voters Strike, until change is achieved.
      Go to the polling station get a ballot paper , and write your messgae on it, do not fill out the ballot.
      ATM the nationals get 21 federal seats with 7% of the vote, the PHON got 1 seat in Qld with 14 % of vote and the Greens get 1 seat with 10% of federal vote.
      Please explain!

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Apparently a large number of ballots,…simply just have dicks drawn all over them.
        How should we interpret this phenomenon?

      • Yeah, that’ the trap isn’t it. I’ve been saying we need a RC into politics and what you say makes it more so. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure I can just write a message on the ballot paper, and in my case it matter little what I do unless a big part of the electorate do the same. It’s only if you’re in a marginal electorate you get some say. Something has to change, but how? I just see total injustice in all areas of politics, and they get away with it. The “Honourable MP” etc. which couldn’t be further from the truth. Even in my council, they just do what they like and same political BS, and really don’t care about the rate payers, yet have very nice salaries, and pensions for delivering what?

  10. C.M.BurnsMEMBER

    The project ran a story on this late last week. Since asio explicitly warned both parties about this particular Chinese businessman:

    The LNP accepted some 900k in donations from him; while Labor accepted 200k.

    Just sayin

  11. It should only take a second to Google the links to Ross Babbage
    quoted in this article, to confirm where he is coming from. Whether Shanghai Sam has been gamed, “turned” by Chinese spies or is as most likely, just a bloody fool operating out of his depth, the Fairfax campaign across a number of its papers bears all the hallmarks of the usual Canberra Defence and Security anti-China alliance running in tandem with their cohorts in Washington. Fair enough – the US wants Australia to join it in its opposition to Chinese activity in the South China Sea, against their new Asian Development Bank and against their new Silk Road policies . The name of the game here is containment similar to that tried by Britain and its allies against the emerging German power in the decades before 1914.

    However, this particular media campaign has gone beyond the usual anti-China opinion pieces that one can expect from Babbage et al. What we are getting here are carefully selected pieces of what appear to be classified security information and which is being dropped to selected journalists. I would have thought that at least some of our more dedicated journalists would be on that part of the story by now. I guess if you have a 2 kids and a mortgage, running up against our security alliance is not good for your career prospects.

    • That’s insulting to whores who are clearly far more ethical and trustworthy than our politicians!