Richard Marles pressed to drop jokes, fess up on meetings with China
Labor’s Deputy Leader is under pressure to answer questions over multiple meetings with Chinese officials in recent years.
The Australian this morning reports Richard Marles has met with the Chinese embassy or officials 10 times in half a decade.
It’s alleged he promised officials Australia’s relations with China would improve under a Labor government.
Mr Marles waved off questions in an appearance on Today this morning, telling Karl Stefanovic the concerns are “getting a bit desperate”.
He claimed that the Liberal Party is “obsessed” with his diary and “whether [he] ate salmon or chicken in that lunch”.
Stefanovic and Mr Marles can be heard joking about a lack of Peking duck on the menu at a diplomatic lunch organised by the Prime Minister.
But Senator James Paterson, Australia’s Intelligence and Security Committee Chair, says the meetings are no laughing matter.
“The Australian people deserve complete transparency about Richard Marles’ relationship with the Chinese government,” he told Ray Hadley.
“While he was having this extraordinarily high number of meetings with Chinese officials, the Chinese government was economically coercing Australia and refusing to meet with Australian government ministers.
“It really is questions for Richard Marles to answer, and not to flippantly dismiss with jokes about Peking duck.”
Press PLAY below to hear James Paterson’s response in full