NCA NewsWire
NCA NewsWire

ALL IN: Bipartisan push for China probe

Three North Queensland politicians will support a proposed Federal Government inquiry into foreign influence at universities amid growing concerns over China.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter's push for the injury has gained support from conservative politician George Christensen and Phillip Thompson.

Mr Katter's charge comes after Drew Pavlou was suspended following a series of anti-China stunts at the University of Queensland.

The 21 year old has taken the university to the Queensland Supreme Court after the decision to suspend him was upheld by UQ's Senate Disciplinary Appeals Committee.

Mr Christensen has been vocal about his thoughts on the Chinese Communist Party, with his Facebook page littered with anti-CCP content.

The Dawson MP raised concerns about Australia's trade relationship with China and launched a website earlier this year to promote the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth inquiry into whether Australia should diversify its trade markets and foreign investment portfolio.

Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Melanie Whiting

"It is great to see Australians who are prepared to stand up for what they know is right," Mr Katter said.

"Democracy, freedom of speech and academic integrity are values this nation was founded on."

Mr Katter will submit a private members motion to federal parliament, seconded by Mr Christensen, calling for the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) to run an inquiry into foreign influence.

LNP MP Phillip Thompson said while he did not believe there was an issue with foreign influence in North Queensland universities, there was a wider picture to consider.

"Australian universities should be a place where our young people and people of all ages go to learn, not to be interfered with by politics or foreign influence," he said.

"It's a place (where there should be) freedom of thought, freedom to debate. I will say that this foreign influence has not been raised with me as an issue here locally."

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Mr Thompson said he would support the inquiry if Andrew Hastie, the chair of the PJCIS, felt it was reasonable.

"Our Federal Government committees like the PJCIS … is perfectly set up to look into Bob's concerns," he said.

Mr Christensen said this was an issue of national security and sovereignty and was above party politics.

"Quite Frankly, I am fed up with the erosion of freedom on university campuses," he said.

"I have spoken to both students and academics who tell me it is a major issue and also tell me they are too afraid to speak out on fear of reprisal," Mr Christensen said.

Originally published as ALL IN: Bipartisan push for China probe