After Julia Banks left the LNP and gave up her seat of Chisholm the Libs held little hope of winning it in the 2019 election. The candidate they selected, Gladys Liu, won pre-selection for the seat based on the amount of money she brought into the party. She was an excellent fundraiser.
She was born in Hong Kong and is the first Chinese-born woman in Parliament. Her surprise win got the LNP over the line and they were able to form Government again. She was a hero. When parliament resumed Scott Morrison made a big deal of her, raising her arm in the Parliament as if to show off his new trophy. “How good is Gladys Liu?” was the new LNP catch-cry. All good so far. However, like everything else the LNP touches it didn’t take long for things to turn to shit.
First, it turned out that Gladys had some dodgy election signs posted at polling stations. These were written entirely in Chinese so most Australians couldn’t read them. They claimed that “the correct voting method” was to put a “1” next to the Liberal candidate and then number the rest of the boxes. Misleading, especially for people who were not used to voting in Australian elections. After the election independent candidate Oliver Yates launched legal action against her (still on-going at the time of writing).
Then things got worse (for her and the LNP). Andrew Bolt, of all people, interviewed her on SkyFox news and asked her opinion on a number of issues, including China’s occupation of islands in the South China Sea and her membership of organisations linked to the Chinese Communist Party. In her effort to toe the Government line whilst at the same time not be critical of China she fell over her words. She first denied knowing she was a member of some China-Linked organisations (despite being a member for 12 years), then didn’t offer an opinion on the aggressive Chinese expansion. The interview was described throughout the media as a “Train Wreck Interview”.
Then it got even worse. Next day she suddenly remembered that she was a member but claimed organisations frequently add people to the membership list without telling them (ever happen to you?).
The Opposition brought up the issue of her allegiance in Parliament and asked her to explain her links to the CCP, then things really got bad (for the LNP). The PM, Scott Morrison, accused them of insulting everyone here of Chinese ancestry suggesting it was “racist” to even question it. Andrew Bolt, again, got stuck into the PM for using the Race card saying “The way that the Prime Minister played that race card five times this morning, well I can only say the Chinese regime should be sending him a thank you card”. And he was right! After Morrison posted a video of himself defending her on Chinese social media platform WeChat the Chinese government praised him.
But wait, there’s more. People started looking into how she became such a great fundraiser for the Libs and started asking where did all that money come from. Was any of it from China perhaps. It turns out that that Liu had not filed a return declaring a $39,675 donation to the Victorian Liberal party in 2015-16. She also failed to declare a $25,000 donation in 2014 for three years.
Then things get really murky. ASIO believes that the Chinese Government tried to install someone in Federal Parliament, a guy called Bo “Nick” Zhao. Mr Zhao disclosed the alleged approach to ASIO and identified the man he says approached him as another Melbourne businessman, Brian Chen. A figure of $1 million was mentioned. In March 2019, Mr Zhao was found dead in a Melbourne motel room and the coroner said it was not suspicious (https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/death-of-melbourne-based-fraudster-not-suspicious-says-coroner-20200921-p55xmd.html). Mr Zhao was a Liberal Party member in the federal electorate of Chisholm, which was won by Liberal MP Gladys Liu. (Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/china-tried-to-plant-its-candidate-in-federal-parliament-authorities-believe-20191122-p53d9x.html). Of course Gladys said she never met this guy but she’s pictured sitting beside him in her house at a Liberal Party meeting!!! (https://www.theage.com.au/national/alleged-chinese-spy-target-pictured-sitting-next-to-liberal-mp-gladys-liu-at-her-home-20191129-p53fj4.html)
Here’s a quick summary of where we’re at (found on twitter, not sure who to credit):
At the time of writing (Sep 2019) this story has a long way to run….we’ll be back to update it soon.
The curious case of Gladys Liu: Messy money matters, the ‘spy target’ and shadowy China groups – https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/the-curious-case-of-gladys-liu-messy-money-matters-the-spy-target-and-shadowy-china-groups/news-story/fa35963dcd3844b0717f3c26e98dac24