Opposition Calls for Identity of Alleged Traitor Politician to be Revealed

Mr. Dutton believed ASIO’s decision not to reveal the person’s identity was unfair to 99.9 percent of patriotic politicians.
Opposition Calls for Identity of Alleged Traitor Politician to be Revealed
Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton speaks to media in Melbourne, Australia on Dec. 12, 2023. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
Alfred Bui

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has called on the Labor government to name and shame the former politician who is said to have betrayed Australia and spied for a hostile country.

This comes following a revelation from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Director General Mike Burgess, saying a foreign intelligence service was able to plant a spy network within the government to advance its agenda.

In an interview with 2GB Radio, Mr. Dutton raised concerns about the ASIO not disclosing the identity of the alleged traitor, saying it cast a shadow on all current and retired politicians across the chamber.

“It’s pretty rough to essentially [be] besmirching former politicians when [Burgess is] talking about one, and the trouble is, if he doesn’t indicate the name, then there’s a cloud hanging over everybody else,” he said.

“I think it is unfair on a lot of former MPs who are patriotic, as 99.9 percent on both sides are, and if there’s one that they’ve identified who’s not, then frankly, that person should be outed and shamed.”

Mr. Dutton’s remarks echoed the sentiment of former treasurer and former ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, who said the ASIO would damage the reputation of every politician until the person was named.

In addition, the opposition leader suspected that the former politician was an ex-Labor member from New South Wales and that the hostile regime in question was Beijing.

“That’d be where I put my money,” he said.

Mr. Dutton also said he would support discussions about changes to the national security laws so they were retrospective and could hold to account politicians from before 2018.

Currently, the national security laws (amended in 2018) are not retrospective and do not capture behaviours that were against the country’s interest prior to the amendment.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he respected ASIO’s decision not to reveal the identity of the former politician.

“Mark Burgess is an absolute professional, and I respect the advice we get from him and from ASIO,” he told ABC Radio.

“He wouldn’t have done it this way if he didn’t think it was necessary to do it this way.

“This is ultimately a matter for them and how they publicise their important work.”

Letting Palestinian Refugees into Australia a ‘Grave Error’: Dutton

At the same time, Mr. Dutton said it was a “grave error” for the Labor government to allow Palestinian refugees to enter the country without properly checking their backgrounds.
In November 2023, the Home Affairs Department confirmed it had granted 860 visas for Palestinians with connections to Australia between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20.

The opposition leader was concerned that refugees were brought into the country without any biometric cross-checking with the United States and other allies to see if they posed a threat to Australia.

“I think it is a very, very difficult situation that the prime minister is putting the country in at the moment,” he said.

“He would see political advantage in doing so here domestically. But I actually think it is a grave error.

“I don’t think we should be taking people in from Gaza at the moment, in an area that’s governed by Hamas, which is on the list of terrorist organisations.”

Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and has two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected].
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