New South Wales (NSW) Labor has yet to respond to an inquiry asking about a state-election candidate who has expressed pro-Belt and Road Initiative views, despite a state by-election due to occur on Feb. 12.
Li is the Labor candidate for the seat of Strathfield, a multi-cultural area in Sydney’s inner-west.
In 2019, Li wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald: “If there is a particular project under the banner of Belt and Road that makes sense for Australia's strategic interest, brings economic dividends, creates jobs and there are no adverse national interest elements, absolutely, we should seize these opportunities.”
In a statement published on Twitter on Feb. 11, General Secretary of NSW Labor Bob Nanva said that it was the first time his party branch had heard of the allegations and that no national security agency had ever raised the issue with the parliamentary leadership or the organizational wing of the NSW branch.
“NSW Labor can confirm that no national security agency has ever raised these alleged matters with the parliamentary leadership or the organisational wing of the NSW Branch,” he said.
Candidate Li did not respond to a request for comment on his views on the BRI, Australia-China relations, and the CCP’s policies on Hong Kong.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns has also endorsed Li.
“I’m proud to announce our candidate for the Strathfield by-election—Jason Yat-Sen Li!”
The Strathfield by-election will be held on Feb. 12, along with by-elections in Willoughby, Bega, and Monaro. Early voting opened on Jan. 31, and voters will have the option to mail-in their ballot amid the Omicron outbreak.