WHY was Malcolm Turnbull not told directly of the former ASIO Director-General Duncan Lewis’ advice?

Who has their paws all over this? Hm …

WHERE would we be if it were not for ASIO?

DESPITE this Ms Liu won preselection in late October … why?

Guests on Gladys Liu list for Malcolm Turnbull event sparked ASIO concerns

Exclusive by political editor Andrew Probyn


Gladys Liu smiles as she's surrounded by other newly elected politicians

PHOTO: Gladys Liu had a reputation for her fundraising abilities prior to entering the Federal Parliament. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

RELATED STORY: Gladys Liu ‘cannot recall’ being on China Overseas Exchange Association councils

RELATED STORY: Questions raised about Liberal MP amid claims of links to Chinese political influence operations

RELATED STORY: Gladys Liu confirms being on China Overseas Exchange Association council

Gladys Liu’s association with Chinese figures who were deemed a security risk was the subject of an ASIO investigation even before she entered Parliament or became a Liberal Party candidate.

Key points:

  • Gladys Liu organised a “meet and greet” for a Malcolm Turnbull visit to Melbourne in 2018
  • ASIO vetted the guest list at the request of the then-prime minister’s office
  • Advice from the nation’s spy chief was Mr Turnbull should not attend the meeting

The ABC understands ASIO Director-General Duncan Lewis advised that then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, based on the guest list, should not attend a “meet and greet” organised by Ms Liu in the Victorian electorate of Chisholm for Chinese New Year in February 2018.

At the time, Julia Banks was the Liberal MP for the eastern Melbourne seat and Ms Liu was active in Chisholm Liberal Party circles.

Ms Liu had already earned a reputation as a supreme fundraiser.

How the ABC first reported Gladys Liu’s links to a secretive Chinese influence network

How the ABC first reported Gladys Liu's links to a secretive Chinese influence network

Ms Liu was appointed honorary chairman of a Hong Kong-based organisation that experts say is affiliated with China’s efforts to exert influence on foreign governments and expatriate Chinese.

In the wake of the Sam Dastyari affair the year before, Mr Turnbull’s office had developed a standard procedure to request the guest list for fundraisers or major organised events where the PM was invited.

About three or four weeks before the February 18 “meet and greet” in Box Hill, Mr Turnbull’s office asked for a guestlist from Ms Banks’s office.

It duly arrived on an A4 sheet of paper with about 30 names from the Chinese community.

This list was then forwarded to ASIO for vetting.

The advice from the Director-General was that Mr Turnbull should not attend the meeting.

The ABC understands Mr Turnbull was not directly told of Mr Lewis’s advice. Instead, Mr Turnbull attended Chinese New Year celebrations in inner Melbourne alongside Ms Banks, one of his loyalists.

Malcolm Turnbull@TurnbullMalcolm

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year (with a special message from our granddaughter Isla)6476:42 PM – Feb 18, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy244 people are talking about this

After the leadership coup that saw Mr Turnbull ousted in August 2018, Ms Banks said she would not recontest the federal election for the Liberal Party in Chisholm.

Three months later, Ms Banks quit the Liberal Party altogether, putting the Morrison Government further into minority status.

Ms Liu won Liberal preselection in late October.