Abbott's Re-Election Campaign Held Golf Club Fundraisers With Chinese Communist Ties
Despite being warned by ASIO that businessmen with ties to the Chinese Communist Party sought to influence Australian politics, Abbott held two fundraisers with party affiliates, a joint investigation has revealed.
Update: Tony Abbott has responded on Twitter to the investigation by the ABC and Fairfax Media.
Federal Member for Warringah and former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, attended the two functions at a Chinese-run golf club early last year.
Twin Peaks Golf & Country Club is controlled by a gambling bigwig wanted for alleged bribery in the Philippines, Jack Lam, and pro-Beijing media man Tommy Jiang.
Lam and Jiang have "deep ties" to the Chinese Communist Party and are linked to their overseas influence operations, according to a joint investigation by Four Corners, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
The report revealed Chinese media covered Abbott backing Lam and Jiang's $100 million development plans when he attended the golf day early last year.
Abbott was seen in photos with both Lam and Jiang at the event in question, published by local media.
In the 2017/18 financial year, the Liberal Party's federal wing disclosed a $40,000 "other receipts" contribution from Twin Peaks golf club to the party.
A senior Liberal Party source said last night the party is now reviewing any donations associated with the golf club, according to the report.
Foreign donations to Australian political parties were banned in January this year.
Abbott's contentious appearances at Twin Peaks have underscored the level of scrutiny politicians are under to when it comes to attending fundraisers.
When he was Australian PM, Abbott was allegedly warned by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [ASIO] that businessmen with Communist Party links were seeking to influence Australian politicians.
An Abbott spokesperson told ABC/Fairfax the Member for Warringah "had no reason to believe there was any concern around the [Twin Peaks] ownership".
"Abbott attended as a guest and had no involvement with arrangements surrounding the event in question," the spokesperson said.
At the function in March 2018, Abbott reportedly told attendees he was "very grateful" to them for taking time off to "support the Warringah Liberal Party".
"[The] second thing I want to say is how much I admire the achievements of modern China.
"I am no friend of communism… but, you have got to hand it to the Chinese people, and the Chinese Government, they have engineered the greatest advancement in human wellbeing of all times," he said.
Lam and Jiang did not offer comment in the investigation.
Gambling tycoon Lam fled the Philippines three years ago after authorities raided his casino and arrested 1316 Chinese nationals working illegally.
In October 2017, Philippines anti-corruption authorities announced Lam faced charges of paying a $1.3 million bribe to two high-ranking immigration officials.
Jiang is Australia’s "most powerful Chinese language media player" and since 2011 has partnered in a Chinese government radio service subsidiary venture.
He was a former member of the Communist Youth League before migrating to Australia and becoming a citizen.
The success of his media business is partly due to his working relationship with the CCP’s propaganda arm via state-owned international broadcaster, China Radio International.
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