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Australian minister accuses China of election meddling

Karen Andrews, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, has accused China of attempting to meddle in an upcoming election, citing a recent security agreement with a nearby Pacific nation as evidence of nefarious motives.

Andrews told a Brisbane radio station on Wednesday that Australians should be “taking notice of and paying some attention to” China’s pact with the Solomon Islands, which was announced last week, according to reports.

“Beijing is clearly very aware that we’re in a federal election campaign here at the moment. Why now? Why, right in the middle of a federal election campaign is all this coming to light?” she asked, addin: “We talk about political interference and that has many forms.”

While it is unclear what effect the China-Solomons agreement will have on the May 21 federal election, the ruling Liberal Party has argued that Beijing is hoping for a Labor Party victory as the centre-left faction takes a more hawkish stance toward Beijing, according to reports.

Labor spokesperson Penny Wong slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison for alleged weakness in dealing with China, claiming that the Solomons deal occurred “on Morrison’s watch” while warning of “the prospect of a Chinese base less than 2,000 kilometres from Australia’s coastline.”

Senior Labor lawmaker Jim Chalmers dismissed Andrews’ remarks, saying that even by the “incredibly low standards of this government,” her criticism was “remarkably desperate and remarkably unhinged,” adding that “the Australian people will determine who wins” next month’s election instead of the Chinese Communist Party.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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