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28 August 2020


South Australian Independent Senator Rex Patrick has called on SA Premier Steven Marshall to provide a full account of his Government's dealings with China's Consulate-General in Adelaide and China’s United Front organisations in SA, especially the activities of his Minister Jing Lee. 

“It’s no secret that Premier Marshall made it his Government’s business to get as close as possible to China in the hope of securing trade deals," Senator Patrick said, “but it now appears that the Premier and his Assistant Minister and Liberal Party fundraiser, Jing Lee MLC, may have got rather too close."

“It is disturbing that Ms Lee has closely associated herself with Chinese United Front organisations that deny the reality of human rights abuse in China, especially the persecution of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang Province.”

"Minister Lee has made much of her close ties with the Chinese Consulate-General in Adelaide.  It’s also of note that Ms Lee has for a decade been an ambassador for the Confucius Institute at Adelaide University. It is now reported that the Federal Attorney-General’s Department is now activity seeking the registration of Confucius Institutes under Australian’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme. In these circumstances it would be prudent for the Premier to require his Assistant Minister to withdraw from her association with the Institute.” 

“I have previously argued that the proximity of the 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 called on the Marshall Government to conduct a comprehensive review to ensure that any future dealings with Chinese diplomatic and consular representatives do not in any way facilitate activities that might compromise Australia’s national security."

“Premier Marshall should start such a review by asking his Assistant Minister to provide a full account of all her dealings with the Consulate-General and organisations such as the Xinjiang Association of SA."