NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane says he is not a suspect in the espionage investigation that saw his Sydney home and office raided last week.
Mr Moselmane on Friday had his Labor Party membership suspended after the raids, which were part of a joint AFP-ASIO investigation amid allegations his office had been infiltrated by a Chinese government agent.
“The investigation is into certain other people, allegedly advancing the goals of a foreign Government, namely the Peoples Republic of China,” he said.
“I’m not sure what those goals are.”
The MP said he would take a leave of absence from the NSW Parliament while the investigation takes place.
He said he had written to the President of the Upper House to say he would not sit in the chamber or on any committees, and would not even go into his office.
Mr Moselmane, who has been in the NSW Upper House since he was selected to fill a vacancy in 2009, said he was cooperating with the investigation.
“I am under no illusion that this is a serious investigation,” he said.
“The first of its time, precedents will be set and lives changed.
“Sadly, the political lynching has already commenced.
“Let me tell you, I have done nothing wrong. I have done nothing wrong.
“I have never jeopardised the welfare of our country and our people.”
If the investigation leads to charges, it would be the first time someone has faced legal action under the Federal Government’s legislation to counter foreign interference.
Last week, NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay described reports that Mr Moselmane’s office had allegedly been infiltrated by Chinese government agents as “dreadfully concerning”.
Mr Moselmane, who has made at least 15 trips to China, said he always footed the bill himself and that most of his visits were to deliver wheelchairs to disabled children.
The former Mayor of Rockdale arrived in Australia from Lebanon in 1977 and has been a passionate anti-racism campaigner and regular attendee at Chinese cultural events.
Mr Moselmane stood down as assistant president of the NSW upper house in April after praising Chinese President Xi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying Mr Xi had demonstrated “unswerving leadership” and decisiveness.But on Monday he stood by those views, saying they had been formerly promulgated by the likes of US President Donald Trump and the World Health Organisation.”My views on China are, in my opinion, views that any Australian is entitled to, to have or to refute,” he said today.