AFP Warned George Christensen Could Be A "Risk of Being Targeted for Compromise"
George Christensen is a former Member of the Liberal National Party and member of parliament for the Division of Dawson. On the 7th of April 2022, he left the Liberal National Party and joined Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party within the week following on the 12th of April.
Mr. Christensen has been investigated by the Australian Federal Police regarding numerous trips to the Philippines.
Travel to the Philippines
Mr. Christensen travelled to the Philippines extensively during his time as a federal parliament representative. In 2018, it was revealed that that he had spent more time in the Philippines than he had in parliament house, making 28 trips, totalling 300 days, over a 4-year period. In the same year, Mr. Christensen had been approached by the AFP regarding his frequent travel. No investigation was established at the time as there was no evidence of any crime being committed.
Fellow Coalition cabinet minister, Matt Canavan, defended Mr. Christensen noting his wife is from the country:
"I think this is a massive beat-up and an invasion of his privacy...His fiancée is from the Philippines. He's done a lot of charity work through his church."
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. Christensen had also claimed his frequent visits to the country were to be with his wife. However, he had made 19 of the total 28 trips, a total of 205 days, to the Philippines before he had met his wife.
In 2019, Mr. Christensen blocked the release of a federal probe into his visits to the Philippines. Despite efforts by Nine News, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald seeking to access the documents under a FOI request, specifically a letter from the AFP to then-Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton dated June 25, 2018. The letter allegedly noted that the case into Mr. Christensen was closed, but warned that the minister remained a risk for being compromised.
In August of 2022, the letter was released, and indeed included a statement regarding Mr. Christensen's risk of being compromised:
"The AFP has completed a thorough assessment in relation to this matter, with no criminal conduct on the part of Mr Christensen being identified. The assessment did reveal, however, that Mr Christensen undertakes extensive international travel to South East Asia during non-sitting periods and has engaged in activities that could potentially place him at risk of being targeted for compromise by foreign interests. On 24 May 2018 the AFP met with Mr Christensen and informed him of the potential risk of compromise."
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