FORMER MP ‘TOLD TO SCRAP’ SPEECH TO SAVE CHINESE DONATIONS

Former MP ‘told to scrap’ speech to save Chinese donations

A Labor politician claims Bill Shorten’s office forced him to scrap a parliamentary speech critical of a Chinese-friendly think-tank because it could jeopardise donations to the NSW Labor Party.

EXCLUSIVE, SHARRI MARKSON, POLITICAL EDITOR-AT-LARGE, The Daily TelegraphSubscriber only|September 21, 2019 6:00amClose

DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU11:37Labor MP warned Bill Shorten Xiangmo donations were for ‘foreign political purposes’

Labor MP Michael Danby says he attempted to convince former opposition leader Bill Shorten donations from Huang Xiangmo …

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A Labor politician claims Bill Shorten’s office forced him to scrap a parliamentary speech critical of a Chinese-friendly think-tank because it could jeopardise donations to the NSW Labor Party.

Former Labor MP Michael Danby — who quit politics at the May election — has spoken for the first time about being silenced on a speech he was planning to give criticising the UTS think-tank, the Australia-China Relations Institute. The Institute was set up with $1.8 million in funding from the now-exiled Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.

Mr Danby said he was summoned to Mr Shorten’s office in 2016 and told to withdraw the speech.
Mr Danby said he was summoned to Mr Shorten’s office in 2016 and told to withdraw the speech.

It can also be revealed that Mr Shorten himself came under immense pressure from NSW Labor MPs and the Labor Party head office in Sussex St when he banned donations from two Chinese billionaires identified by ASIO as having security concerns.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Danby said he was summoned to Mr Shorten’s office in 2016 and told to withdraw the speech — of which they had an advance copy.

Former Labor MP Michael Danby quit politics at the May election.
Former Labor MP Michael Danby quit politics at the May election.

“In order to influence people and because it was such an important speech I circulated it to a few people, and people who were more on the pro-China side of the argument became a little panicked and they sent it to the leader’s office,” he said.

“They said please don’t give it because we’ve got big donations coming from these people and we’ve got a lot of pressure from the NSW branch not to jeopardise their fundraising. This was in the time before people understood who Huang Xiangmo was.”

The Victorian Labor MP, a factional ally of Mr Shorten and his Parliamentary Secretary, had intended to speak about Bob Carr’s work as a director for ACRI — a role that ended earlier this year — and his opinion that the research institute was pro-China. In his role as former chair of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee from 2009 to 2013, Mr Danby saw the “ongoing influence of Beijing’s front organisations” and its “influence through donations to both sides of politics”.

Mr Shorten last night said: “Far from me personally stopping Michael speaking his mind on China, his entreaties in part convinced me to become the first political leader to ban foreign donations from these guys.”

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/former-mp-told-to-scrap-speech-to-save-chinese-donations/news-story/8d08bb882379036b00da6eb8f29bb0c0?type=curated&position=4&overallPos=4&utm_source=DailyTelegraph&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial