Penny Wong Slams Liberal-Linked 'Fake News' On Chinese Social Media

Scott Morrison must explain his party’s involvement in anti-Labor fake news on We Chat, Penny Wong said, as the election campaign takes a nasty turn.

Doctored tweets, purporting to be from Bill Shorten, have circulated on the Chinese social media app -- which has a strong user base in several critical seats like Chisholm and Banks -- in recent days.

One claims to show Shorten saying that “Immigration of people from the Middle East is the future Australia needs” -- which Shorten did not write on his Twitter account.

Photo: AAP.

Other accounts have been sharing lies about Labor policy. A Sydney Morning Herald report claimed some accounts which helped spread the posts were linked to the Liberal Party.

Chisholm, vacated by former Liberal member Julia Banks who is contesting nearby Flinders, is now a contest between Labor’s Jennifer Yang and the Coalition’s Gladys Liu.

Speaking in the ultra-marginal seat of Corangamite on Tuesday, Labor frontbencher Penny Wong described the messages “very serious and concerning”, calling on the Prime Minister to detail what involvement his party had with the fake posts -- if any.

“Our message to the Prime Minister is this: this is not what we do in Australia. We have robust political debate, we don’t have major political parties engaging in fake news,” Wong said, standing beside Shorten at a university medical school visit.

“It is incumbent upon Scott Morrison to rule out any Liberal Party involvement in the malicious false content that is circulating on We Chat.”

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Wong called on Morrison to “make sure his party does the right thing”.

Senator Penny Wong is seen speaking at the launch of Labor's federal election campaign. Image: AAP Image/Darren England

It is just the latest example of fake news this election.

Despite Facebook setting out special rules to govern how political content would be shared on its platform -- including banning overseas ads and implementing a new fact-checking unit -- posts claiming Labor is set to introduce a "death tax" have circulated on the platform. The Liberal Party has denied being behind the posts.

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Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps has also called out a series of vile anti-Semitic emails, which falsely claimed her support for the refugee medevac legislation had led to many asylum seekers bringing disease to Australia.

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