A Liberal backbencher labelled a man accused of foreign interference for China as “inspiring”.
A Liberal backbencher labelled a man accused of foreign interference for China as “inspiring”.

Gladys Liu praises man accused of foreign interference

THE charity work of a Melbourne man accused of preparing an act of foreign interference for China has been praised by Liberal MP Gladys Liu.

The Victorian backbencher said a donation presented to the Royal Melbourne Hospital by Di Sanh Duong on behalf of the Oceania Federation of Chinese Associations was "inspiring".

Mr Duong, 65, also known as Sunny Duong, became the first person charged under Australia's landmark foreign interference laws at the start of November, after a year-long investigation by the counter-foreign interference federal task force.

In June, Mr Duong delivered the donation at the hospital alongside acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge.

Ms Liu expressed her support of the organisation in an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report published this week, which raised the eyebrows of some Labor and Liberal MPs.

The Herald Sun understands the comments were written in August, with no attempt made by Ms Liu to change or remove them in the month between charges being laid and the report being published.

"When it comes to demonstrating their pride in Australia, multicultural communities have really stepped up to the plate in delivering support during difficult times this year," she wrote. "Another inspiring example was reported in June, when the Oceania Federation of Chinese Organisations ... presented the Royal Melbourne with a donation of more than $37,000 for the hospital's COVID appeal."

A spokesman for Ms Liu said the submission was made before federal authorities swooped.

"Ms Liu made her final submission to ASPI prior to the charges against Mr Duong," the spokesman said in a statement.

"Ms Liu still holds the view that multicultural communities are proud to be in Australia and many wish to contribute to their adopted nation in a meaningful way."

Ms Liu was the first Chinese-born person elected to the federal parliament.

But she courted controversy when she was connected to several Communist Party-linked community organisations, and was forced to resign from several positions.

tamsin.rose@news.com.au

@tamsinroses

 

Originally published as Gladys Liu praises man accused of foreign interference


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