During a debate at the National Press Club last week, Defense Secretary Peter Dathan decided to stay afloat. false allegations that Labor has struck a deal with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Citing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s now-defunct WeChat account as evidence of foreign interference, Dathan said he had “no doubt at all” that the CCP would like to see a change of government. Morrison’s WeChat account was taken and rebranded back in January, but a First Draft investigation found no evidence that the account has been hacked or forged. However, the story went well into the rhetoric of the “reds under the bed,” which has gained energy over the past few months. Whether it’s promoting racist traits, slandering “pro-communist” politicians, speaking out in the language of war, or pushing with an acrostic verse for CHINA, both major and minor parties mobilize and monetize fears about the CCP’s alleged interference to win the election. .
The alleged Chinese intervention is not a foreign phenomenon in Australian politics. Individuals and legal entities with references to the CCP trying to direct funds to the red line had previously been caught Australian spy services. But past guilt and ability do not turn into actual intervention here and now. In this election, it is the Australian political class that supports the CCP to promote its own red line on voters.
While the incumbent Liberal National Coalition continues to direct its cozy campaign against Labor leader Anthony Albanese, Deputy Richard Marles and Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Penny Wong; The Liberal candidate in Cheeholm, Gladys Liu, became the last politician to become a tool for accusations of foreign interference both online and offline.
During the federal election in Australia in 2019, Liu alleged CCP connections shown as the hearth of the election. In this round, Liu was accused of “take money from the Chinese government”At public debates and branded a Chinese spy on the official Facebook page of the Queensland branch. The tactics in the offline mode were outrageous: Liu’s face played on billboards marking her as “Xi Jinping’s candidate for Chisholm” and encouraging voters to “wash away Liu.” Queensland Senate candidate and outspoken CCP critic Drew Paul stands behind the campaign. Pavlov also put South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon in a truck, calling him a “Chinese puppet.” legal work with Huawei. He also took home the same message (in a more stationary form) with a video ad claiming that Xenophon “supports genocide” and helps throw Uighurs into concentration camps.
“China on the move” was a common feature in Australia’s 2022 federal election. Advance Australia’s so-called conservative lobby group “true truck”Also took on a tour of Australia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is inclined to work.
The Labor Party’s official advertisement approached Gladys Liu in a different way. Bypassing the story of the “Chinese spy”, they instead conducted a list of political “tricks” that Liu allegedly used during the 2019 federal election. These include spread “Fake news in Chinese messaging programs” being forced to return $ 300,000 from donors who are “considered a risk to national security” and try to deceive voters AEC-themed signs. The Facebook ad from both the Australian Labor Party and the Victoria Labor Party links to a website called “Cheezholm deserves better” which details the aforementioned “tricks”.
First Draft closely monitored Facebook’s online ad library in this election and found that minor parties had also laid a red carpet to instill fear of foreign interference. The United Australian Party of Clive Palmer (UAP) said that “Australians should now be concerned that our politicians are acting in the interests of China’s communist government, not Australia”, urging voters to vote for the UAP to “stop the secret fascination of our country” . One nation has taken a similar line. Their Tasmanian Senate candidate Steve Mau did not hold back with an acrostic poem for “China” entitled “5 Words to Describe an Enemy Who Wants Australia”. It reads: “control, harmful, illegal, disgusting, aggressive.”
Minor parties in favor of freedom are also pouring money into online advertising, which claims that the Australian government is introducing “mass biometric surveillance” comparable to China, and that Australia is moving towards a social credit system similar to that which exists. in China ”. One Nation even took the liberty of publishing a racist bat soup in its latest animation, “Please Explain Voter Fraud”. The video was quickly removed from social media sites due to false allegations of election fraud, but the racist conversation only broke a few feathers.
As elections approach, political parties and candidates of all stripes are trying to use tensions between Australia and China and fears of foreign interference to bolster votes. Although national security remains a very serious concern, it is fearful at its best.