WA MP declares loyalty to Australia amid China spying claims
WA Labor MP Pierre Yang has wept in parliament, saying he's deeply hurt by reports casting doubts on his loyalty to Australia and suggesting he has links to China's Communist Party.
News Corp Australia recently reported Mr Yang had not declared to parliament his membership of the Northeast China Federation and the Association of Great China, which are allegedly affiliated with the party.
Mr Yang, who migrated to Australia 20 years ago, has since resigned from the organisations, which hold contrary positions to the Commonwealth on issues including China's claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
He said he overlooked the memberships, along with his participation in a community centre in his suburb, when filling in his annual return.
The upper house MP said he wasn't legally required to disclose them, but believed he should have and apologised to his colleagues.
"I did not seek to hide my membership in these two associations," Mr Yang said.
"I did amend my return."
Mr Yang said he disclosed his membership to one of the groups in his expression of interest for preselection but the other did not exist when he nominated.
He also insisted he had never been a member of the WA branch of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China and did not know why his Chinese name had been listed on its website.
Mr Yang, who is a lawyer, said he instructed his counsel to get them to take it down last week.
Earlier, it was reported that Mr Yang spent time on a Chinese government boat that was part of the search for MH370, citing security experts as saying the vessel was probably conducting spying activities.
He said that as an Australian Army Reserve member, he was invited to apply for the 49-day deployment and was chosen because he speaks Mandarin.
The suggestion he was not totally loyal to Australia was deeply hurtful, Mr Yang said, and wept as he asked whether his Australian-born children would also have their allegiance questioned.
"I take my reputation seriously," he said.
"Australia is my home. My loyalty is to Australia and only to Australia."
Premier Mark McGowan has sprung to Mr Yang's defence, describing the initial news report as an "attack filled with slur and innuendo".
© AAP 2018