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Home Australia and Oceania Australia Scott Morrison’s ‘smear’ argument won’t help MP

Scott Morrison’s ‘smear’ argument won’t help MP

Gladys Liu has much to explain and no huffing and puffing about “smears” by the Government will remove that obligation.

The fate of the Liberal MP rests on whether her harvesting of Chinese community votes for the May 18 election intersected with the ambitions of groups she has been linked to.

Was she an innocent using these groups to get elected to the seat of Chisholm? Or was she aware of the noxious intentions of some of these groups but ignored or even abetted them?

The Government’s “Our Glad” campaign is based on the accusation that any questioning of her is mere smear and race based.

But the questioning of the newly elected, Hong Kong-born MP for the Victorian seat of Chisholm by Labor is, in its essence, legitimate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today declared Ms Liu a “great Australian”, a significant upgrade of her status when Malcolm Turnbull was PM.

It is understood that in February last year ASIO advised Mr Turnbull not to attend a Chinese New Year meet-and-greet organised by Ms Liu because of certain figures from the Chinese community who would be attending it.

There was concerns about the Prime Minister being compromised.

So today Gladys Liu is a victim of slurs, but 20 months ago she was depicted as mixing with undesirables.

She has not helped her case by, in a Sky interview Wednesday evening, being unable to say whether or not she was a member of a group linked to Beijing propaganda operations despite being on its books for 12 years.

It was a “clumsy” interview response by her, Mr Morrison said, excusing the new chum MP on the grounds of inexperience.

Others might find it difficult to believe that more than a decade of membership of any organisation would be difficult to forget.

But it was the security concerns of February, 2018 which should be addressed, and Labor is right to do so.

Mr Morrison is correct in rejecting equivalence with the case of former Labor senator Sam Dastyari.

Mr Dastyari used Chinese donor funds to pay his legal and travel expenses and is on video backing Beijing’s official policy on activities in the China Sea, despite it clashing with ALP policy.

Labor today is suggesting Ms Liu must stand down just as Mr Dastyari had to quit the Senate. But that doesn’t make sense as the circumstances of the two cases in no way match.

The onus for explanation on Ms Liu is singular.

And the critical matter she should elaborate on is when and how her political ambitions intersected with those of Beijing-linked organisation she cultivated ties with.

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