No ally fallout from Hastie speech: ASIO

ASIO head Duncan Lewis says clearance wasn’t sought before MP Andrew Hastie made his comments.The head of ‘s intelligence agency doesn’t expect there to be any fallout with allies following Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie’s bombshell speech.
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Mr Hastie used parliamentary privilege on Tuesday night to announce that a man known as “CC-3” in FBI documents was political donor Dr Chau Chak Wing.

“The same man who co-conspired to bribe the United Nations General Assembly president John Ashe, the same man with extensive contacts in the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr Hastie said on Tuesday night.

Mr Hastie, a former special forces soldier who heads up the parliament’s powerful intelligence committee, had confirmed the matter during a briefing with US officials.

ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis said Mr Hastie had a discussion with a junior officer in the lead-up to his speech.

“There was no approach to ASIO formally to provide clearance for what was said,” he told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday night.

Asked about the implications of Mr Hastie’s decision on ‘s relationship with intelligence allies, Mr Lewis replied: “None.”

Mr Lewis said an hour and a half before the speech he had heard rumblings of Mr Hastie’s intentions.

He immediately tasked ASIO’s Washington office to find out the facts of what Mr Hastie had been briefed on in the US.

Dr Chau has donated more than $4 million to both major political parties as well as $45 million to n universities.

Dr Chau’s lawyer Mark O’Brien said in a statement on Wednesday his client was disappointed parliamentary privilege was used to “repeat old claims” just weeks before a defamation hearing.

“Our client has not been charged with any offence, which makes Mr Hastie’s attack all the more extraordinary,” the statement said.

He said his client was confident of being vindicated at the court hearing.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Lewis have discussed the matter.

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