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Chinese Community Leader Accused of Foreign Interference, Allegedly Saw Alan Tudge as Future PM

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Alan Tudge is the Federally elected member for the seat of Aston, Shadow Education Minister for the Liberal Party and former Education Minister under the Morrison Government.

Alan Tudge, wearing glasses and a suit, with the text "Alan Tudge" foregrounded

Di Sanh Duong Accused of Using Hospital Donation to Influence Australia Government

Di Sanh Duong, a 67-year-old former member of the Liberal Party, is accused of using a $37,000 to the Royal Melbourne Hospital to influence the Australian government on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. Mr. Duong has been charged with preparing for, or planning, foreign interference in November of 2020 following a joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police and ASIO. At a committal hearing in Melbourne magistrates court, Mr. Duong denied the allegations and argued he was only trying to reduce anti-Chinese sentiment.

Phone transcripts read in court detail that Mr. Duong told an associate on the 30th of April 2020 that he intended to meet with Mr. Tudge as "he was a man who would be prime minister in the future." The transcript went on to describe that Mr. Duong was able to put forward Chinese issues at a federal level with Mr. Tudge and that he was "well acquainted" with the federal minister.

The court was told that after the $37,000 in funds had been raised, Mr. Duong had spoken to then-Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge. Mr. Duong asked Mr. Tudge to attend an event where a cheque of the funds would be given to the hospital "as a way to gain publicity for the donation."

Prosecutor, Patrick Doyle SC, alleged that Mr. Duong had strong connections to the Chinese Communist Party. Mr. Duong was engaged with a number of organisations which had already been linked to the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department and had allegedly meet with Chinese officials from the Ministry of State Security during a trip to China in January of 2020.

The phone transcripts also detailed that Mr. Duong and two other associates spoke in March of 2020 regarding the raising of the funds. They were intended to purchase 20,000 face masks to be given to the Australian government. After Chinese suppliers informed the group that the delivery of the masks would be delayed until May, they decided to give the money to the Royal Melbourne Hospital directly.

Mr. Duong is the first person to be charged under Australia's foreign interference laws.

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