Liberal MP Defends Herself Amid China Controversy

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019
House of Representatives in Parliament House

Newly-elected Liberal MP Gladys Liu has cut ties with some Chinese organisations and claims others have been using her name without her knowledge.

The Victorian MP is under pressure after saying she could not recall being part of two Chinese government-linked propaganda organisations.

“Unfortunately some Chinese associations appoint people to honorary positions without their knowledge or permission,” Ms Liu said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I do not wish my name to be used in any of these associations and I ask them to stop using my name.

“I have resigned from many organisations and I am in the process of auditing any organisations who may have added me as a member without my knowledge or consent.”

The ABC reported she had been a council member for two China Overseas Exchange Association chapters from 2003 to 2015, which were later rolled into China’s United Front propaganda arm.

On Sky News on Tuesday night, Ms Liu said she could not recall whether she was involved in the organisations.

But on Wednesday, the first-term MP revealed she had an honorary role with the Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association in 2011.

“I no longer have an association with this organisation,” she said.

Ms Liu also repeated her position that Australia’s interests come first in the contested South China Sea, after she refused in an interview to say China’s actions were specifically “unlawful”.

“We do not take sides on competing territorial claims but we call on all claimants to resolve disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law,” she said.

“China is not a democracy and is run under an authoritarian system. We have always been and will continue to be clear-eyed about our political differences, but do so based on mutual respect, as two sovereign nations.”

Senate crossbencher Rex Patrick wants Ms Liu investigated by security agencies.

“The prime minister should write to the director-general of security and seek some advice in relation to the matters that have turned up,” Senator Patrick said.

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon said Ms Liu had questions to answer after the “train wreck” interview on Sky News.

“Her loyalties at the very best seemed somewhat confused,” Mr Fitzgibbon told ABC radio.

Ms Liu, who was born in Hong Kong, said any suggestions she wasn’t a proud Australian and passionate Chisholm MP were “deeply offensive”.

“I know some people will see everything I do through the lens of my birthplace, but I hope that they will see more than just the first Chinese woman elected to parliament,” she said.

Labor will not let the matter rest.

“I can recall the Liberal Party making Sam Dastyari a test of Bill Shorten’s leadership,” Labor Senator Penny Wong told reporters.

“Well, this is Scott Morrison’s test.”


Photo credit: FiledIMAGE /

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