/Malcolm Turnbull slams Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison over Chinese donor revelations

Malcolm Turnbull slams Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison over Chinese donor revelations

Updated

April 09, 2019 12:07:46

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has demanded answers from his replacement and slammed the Home Affairs Minister amid revelations a Chinese Communist Party-aligned billionaire paid tens of thousands of dollars trying to secure Australian citizenship.

Key points:

  • Malcolm Turnbull says Scott Morrison cannot dismiss this investigation as Canberra “bubble” gossip
  • Peter Dutton has dismissed the story and says he has never accepted money from Huang Xiangmo
  • Mr Turnbull says Peter Dutton still has questions to answer, and the story is very concerning

A Four Corners-Sydney Morning Herald investigation revealed Mr Dutton granted then-Labor senator Sam Dastyari approval to hold a ceremony for the family of Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.

Mr Huang was also seeking Australian citizenship for himself — and met Mr Dutton to discuss it — but was ultimately unsuccessful after domestic spy agency ASIO warned against it.

Mr Turnbull said the story was very concerning and troubling and the Prime Minister should take it seriously.

“Scott Morrison is the Prime Minister and you can’t waive this off and say that it is all part of gossip and of the bubble — this is the national security of Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Remember the furore that arose against [former Labor senator] Sam Dastyari all the same issues have risen again.”

When Mr Morrison was asked about the investigation this morning, he defended the Coalition’s record on foreign interference and said Mr Dastyari had disgraced the Labor Party.

“I think that compares very significantly to that of the Labor Party where senator Sam Dastyari had to resign in disgrace because he not only compromised himself in standing in front of an Australian Government insignia with the very individual you’re referring to,” Mr Morrison said.

Today, Mr Dutton dismissed the investigation and said he had never accepted a dollar from the Chinese billionaire.

“I had that one meeting with him over lunch. I have never seen him since,” Mr Dutton said.

“As I say, what has he got from me?

“He is now offshore and prevented from coming back into Australia. So somehow, you know, the beat-up of what I’ve seen of last night just doesn’t stack up.”

Speaking shortly after Mr Dutton’s comments, Mr Turnbull said he still had a lot of explaining to do.

“He is supposed to be the minister responsible for the domestic security of Australia, he is supposed to be the minister responsible for ensuring our politics is not influenced by foreign actors,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The idea that the minister responsible for enforcing those laws has had a meeting of this kind raises a lot of questions, but Peter Dutton is the only one that can answer them, and Santo Santoro should answer questions about his role.

“It is concerning and very troubling for everyone, every Australian concerned about ensuring that our politics is not influenced by foreign actors.”

Topics:

government-and-politics,

scott-morrison,

turnbull-malcolm,

australia

First posted

April 09, 2019 11:25:46