The home affairs minister is “remarkably desperate and unhinged” for suggesting China announced its security deal with the Solomon Islands to interfere with the election campaign, Labor says.
Liberal MP Karen Andrews said the timing of the announcement was significant and Beijing was “clearly aware” Australia was in the middle of a federal election.
“We talk about political interference and that has many forms so I think we need to be very much aware of what Beijing is doing, what its plans are, what it’s trying to achieve in the actions its taking in the Solomons,” she told 4BC radio on Wednesday.
Ms Andrews also suggested China was taking note of which members of parliament had been aligned with them in the past.
“They would be watching very closely what is happening here, and again, I think some of the actions and the timing of that is a cause for concern,” she said.
But Labor campaign spokesperson Jim Chalmers said the allegation from Ms Andrews was misleading.
“Even by the incredibly low standards of this government, I thought what Karen Andrews said was remarkably desperate and remarkably unhinged,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“On a day when inflation is going through the roof, on a day when it becomes clearer than ever that ordinary working families are falling behind and can’t get ahead, it says everything about this government that they want to make a claim like that.
“The Australian people will determine who wins this election.”