Skip to main content
  • The Legislative Assembly meets on 04/12/2020 (02:00 PM)
    Assembly sit 04/12/2020

Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1317 asked in the Legislative Council on 5 December 2018 by Hon Charles Smith

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 5 December 2018


1317. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Leader of the House representing the Premier:

I refer to the recent article in The Australian entitled ''MP 'overlooked' ties to Chinese Communist Party''.

(1) Are there any other members of the WA Labor Party with links to the WA Australian Council —

Hon Darren West interjected.

Hon CHARLES SMITH: I am sorry, member; I am trying to speak, thanks. I ask again —

(1) Are there any other members of the WA Labor Party with links to the WA Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China?

(2) Has the Premier had any contact from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation or associated commonwealth security organisations regarding these revelations about Hon Pierre Yang?

(3) Does the Premier support Hon Pierre Yang promoting Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative at the first WA Belt and Road international trade summit on 31 July 2018?

(4) Was this presentation at the behest of the WA Labor Party?

(5) Is the Western Australian government going to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative?

(6) Given the mounting evidence of Beijing's interference in Australian affairs, why did the McGowan government pay Huawei $206 million, despite national security concerns, to maintain a public transport media data network?

The PRESIDENT: Leader of the House, before I give you the call, I am just going to remind members that when they ask a question, I am going to refer them to standing order 104, which states —

Questions may be asked of —

(a) a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary relating to public affairs with which the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary is connected, to proceedings in the Council, or to any matter of administration for which the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary is responsible;

I raise that and remind members of that standing order, because I do not believe that the first part of the question adheres to it. Leader of the House, when you get the call, you may choose not to respond, particularly to the first part of that question, although there may be other parts that also fall away from the standing order. That is up to you.

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

Thank you, Madam President. I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The answer to part (1) refers to the standing orders, just as you outlined, Madam President.

(1) This is a matter for the Labor Party and, as per the standing orders of this place, the Premier is not able to answer the question as it does not relate to actions or decisions of a sworn minister of the Crown.

(2) No.

(3) Hon Pierre Yang did not attend a summit on 31 July 2018.

(4) Not applicable.

(5) The Western Australian government has not been asked to, in the member's language, ''sign up'' to the Belt and Road Initiative; however, as the Premier has said in the media, we want to see a continued strong relationship with China for the economic benefit of the people of Western Australia. As the member would be aware, many thousands of local jobs are underpinned by our trade relationship. The Premier is keen for governments at all levels in Australia to foster close relationships with China.

(6) I assume the member is referring to the radio systems replacement contract. The radio systems replacement project will result in a private network with use restricted to the transmission of operational data to support the Public Transport Authority's passenger rail services. As the government has repeatedly said, the commonwealth Department of Home Affairs has advised us that it has not identified any issues that would prevent the project from proceeding.