NSW LABOR MP SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE RAIDS
A little-known NSW Labor MP has been suspended from the party after his Sydney home was raided by federal police and ASIO amid allegations of foreign interference with links to China.
Shaoquett Moselmane has recently spoken and written articles in support of China's Communist leader Xi Jinping but kept a low profile on Friday following the raid.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay says she had been told police and ASIO intelligence officers had entered Mr Moselmane's Rockdale home and also had a warrant for his parliamentary office.
Asked if the searches related to suspicions of Chinese government infiltration, Ms McKay said: "No, this came as a surprise to me.
"It's dreadfully concerning, it's terrible," she added.
"There's an expectation on MPs that, whatever they do, it's in the best interests of the people of the state. I'd hope every single MP in the parliament ... has that at the heart of their actions."
She confirmed Mr Moselmane's membership of NSW Labor had been suspended and the upper house MP will no longer sit in the parliamentary caucus.
There are unconfirmed reports that one of Mr Moselmane's staff, who had allegedly been trained by the Chinese Communist Party, may also be involved.
It's the latest blow for an ALP still reeling from branch-stacking allegations in Victoria, which claimed ministerial scalps at Spring Street.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was aware of an investigation that had been going on for some time which "elevated to a new level today."
He described the developments in Sydney as "extremely serious".
"We won't cop anyone coming and seeking to interfere in our political system," Mr Morrison said.
Mr Moselmane, who has been in NSW parliament since 2009 and held roles including assistant president of the upper house, is reported to have made repeated trips to China, where he has met with Chinese Communist Party members.
Outside the Rockdale home late on Friday, Mr Moselmane's brother Shawki Moselmane told reporters his sibling's trips to China had been to "help children in need".
"He was a kid when he joined the Labor Party. He is a pro-Labor Party, Labor Party in his heart for years and years. He got nothing to do with the Communist Party of China, he's got nothing to do with China at all."
Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter said espionage and foreign interference threaten Australia's national security.
"The government is sharply focused on activity in this area as evidenced by the complete rewrite of the laws applying to espionage and foreign interference and also foreign influence," Mr Porter said.
Mr Moselmane stood down as assistant president of the NSW upper house in April after praising Chinese President Xi's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying Mr Xi had demonstrated "unswerving leadership" and decisiveness.
He also reportedly warned the "obsolete scum of white Australia" was resurgent in spreading Sinophobia in an opinion piece he wrote for the East China Normal University.
Born in Lebanon, Mr Moselmane arrived in Australia as a 12-year-old in 1977 and, after qualifying as a lawyer, served four stints as Rockdale City Council mayor between 1995 and his election to state parliament in 2009.