Australia’s Shadow Home Affairs Minister has met with an organisation linked to the United Front Work Department (UFWD), the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) main foreign influence body.
In mid-September, Kristina Keneally, the Australian Labor Party’s home affairs spokesperson, was nominated to run in the multicultural federal electorate of Fowler in Sydney’s southwest.
On Oct. 19, she met with Hung Ly and local Councillor Kien Ly at the Australia Chinese Teochew Association.
Hung Ly is also the head of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC), whose previous president was the controversial billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
The ACPPRC is an affiliate of the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which noted that the UFWD controlled the body.
“It was great to meet with the Australian Chinese Teochew Association in Cabramatta last week,” Senator Keneally wrote on Twitter.
It was great to meet with the Australian Chinese Teochew Association in Cabramatta last week
Thank you to President Hung Ly & Clr TK Ly for having me! & I was touched by the framed photo they had from 2010! 😉
— Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) October 19, 2021
“Thank you to President Hung Ly and Clr. TK Ly for having me! And I was touched by the framed photo they had from 2010!”
When questioned on her visit, the senator said, “Last week, I met with the president of the Teochew Association in Fowler. I was invited to do so by a local councillor.”
“I can guess from the insinuation you’re making that you’re concerned about some aspect of foreign interference. So am I. What we should not do, is look upon those Australian citizens who have migrated to this country—whether it’s from China, Cambodia, or anywhere else—and assume that they are all somehow agents of foreign interference. They are Australian patriots,” she told reporters in Parliament.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, senior security sources claim the senator has received briefings from intelligence agencies on the risks of meeting with UFWD groups, particularly given her role on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
The Home Affairs portfolio is also in charge of issues such as domestic security and immigration.
The Epoch Times reached out to the office of Senator Keneally but did not receive a response in time for publication.
The ACPRRC gained notoriety in Australia after a 2017 joint investigation by Fairfax Media, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation revealed the extent of the influence then-President Huang Xiangmo had on the country’s political scene.
The investigation revealed Huang donated more than AU$1 million (US$724,000) to both the ALP and Liberal Party and another AU$1.8 million (US$1.3 million) to the University of Technology Sydney to establish an Australia-China research think tank.
Huang also maintained a close relationship with former New South Wales (NSW) ALP Senator Sam Dastyari, including paying his legal and travel expenses to the tune of $5,000.
Dastyari was subsequently forced to resign after it was revealed he warned Huang that intelligence services were tapping his phone calls, among a litany of other issues.
Chin Jin, global chair of the Federation for a Democratic China, said Keneally was within her right to use whatever means to generate publicity but warned that some political figures were still sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Changing a party’s views is not possible when relying on just eloquent and objective arguments. Instead, it can only be changed by elections and at the ballot box,” he told The Epoch Times in an email.