Chinese influence at all levels of Australian politics, says Clive Hamilton

Chinese influence at all levels of Australian politics, says Clive Hamilton. By Paul Maley.

One of Australia’s most prominent public intellectuals, Charles Sturt University professor Clive Hamilton, claims the Chinese Communist Party is inserting “agents of influence” at all levels of Australian political life.

Professor Hamilton, whose forthcoming book on Chinese foreign influence was postponed by its publisher amid fears Beijing would bankroll endless defamation suits against it, said the Chinese government was exerting a degree of influence in Australian affairs that went well beyond that of other countries.

Professor Hamilton said Australians “had a long way to go’’ ­before they understood the ­extent of Beijing’s meddling.

“Beijing is playing a long game,” he said. “It is inserting agents of influence at all levels of government and in all situations in Australia, to local government to federal parliament.’’ …

Professor Hamilton said the Chinese Communist Party was not picky about parties or candidates, and operated at every level of government. “They’re promiscuous. They’re not interested in particular policies, they’re interested in influence.’’

Professor Hamilton said Chinese Australians living in Sydney “effectively live in fear of the consulate and what it might do”, ­especially those who have family or business affairs in China.

“When people from the consulate turn up at a Chinese-language newspaper and say stop carrying Falun Gong ads or your family back in China will suffer, that’s not soft power,’’ he said. “That’s the kind of thing they do.”