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7 September 2020


South Australian independent Senator Rex Patrick has called on SA Premier Steven Marshall to require his Assistant Minister Jing Lee to provide a full account of her dealings with China's Consulate-General in Adelaide and China’s United Front organisations in SA. 

"Full transparency is required to resolve the concerns that have been raised about Assistant Minister Lee’s interactions with China’s Consulate-General and United Front organisations," Senator Patrick said. 

"Now Ms Lee has been selected by the SA Liberal Government as their preferred candidate for the Presidency of the Legislative Council, Premier Marshall must require his Minister provide a full statement to the Parliament about her association with organisations that deny human rights abuses in China, especially the persecution of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang Province."

"While it is not suggested that Ms Lee has acted on behalf of a foreign power, it is important to note that Section 25A of Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 exempts members of State Parliaments from having to register if they undertake activities on behalf of a foreign principal."

"Given this exemption it is most important that Ms Lee be fully transparent about all her dealings with the Chinese Consulate-General and all organisations directly or indirectly associated with the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party." 

"Ms Lee also needs to end her role as an ambassador for the Confucius Institute at Adelaide University. The Federal Attorney-General’s Department is now seeking the registration of Confucius Institutes under Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme. In these circumstances the Premier should direct his Minister to withdraw from her association with the Institute."

“I have previously said that the proximity of China’s Consulate-General to key Australian defence industry facilities in SA poses a significant national security risk, and that the Chinese consular presence should be radically reduced."

"I have also urged that the Marshall Government carry out a comprehensive review of its dealings with Chinese diplomatic and consular representatives to ensure they do not in any way facilitate activities that might compromise Australia’s national security."

“Ms Lee should be afforded every opportunity, before there is a vote of the Legislative Council presidency, to make a comprehensive parliamentary statement about the character and manner of all her dealings with the Chinese Consulate-General and organisations such as the Xinjiang Association of SA."