AFP has warned former federal deputy George Christensen that there is a risk of blackmail due to ‘activities’ in Southeast Asia

The old coalition government was warned by Federal Police that former National MP George Christensen was at risk of blackmail over ‘activities’ he was carrying out in the Southeast Asia.
The detail is contained in a 2018 letter from the Australian Federal Government Police (AFP) to then Home Secretary Peter Dutton, who police and Christensen have fought numerous times since 2019 to keep secret.

In the letter written by former deputy commissioner Ramzi Jabbour, police said an investigation into the former national deputy’s frequent travels to the region had found no evidence of “criminal conduct”, but had warned that he had “engaged in activities likely to endanger him”. to be the target of compromise by foreign interests”.

Then National MP George Christensen during Question Time in 2020. (Alex Ellinghausen)

He revealed that the police assessment began following a tip-off in September 2017, after a “previously unknown AFP source” allegedly alleged that Christensen was “engaging in inappropriate conduct at abroad, potentially in breach of Australian law”.

9News has been fighting since July 2019 to have this letter made public under freedom of information laws.

The Australian Federal Police argued that it should not be released for confidentiality reasons, then later argued that it could harm national security.

Christensen has always claimed that the coverage and interrogation of his frequent trips to Southeast Asia was a base libel.

He made three secret submissions to the information watchdog in his fight to prevent the letter from being published.

Christensen spent 294 days in the Philippines over four years from 2014 to 2018, earning him the nickname “Manila Member” from some of his colleagues.

MP George Christensen threatens to turn the coalition into a minority.
Christensen spent 294 days in the Philippines over four years from 2014 to 2018. (Alex Ellinghausen)

Last October, the former MP denied trying to block publication of the letter, but said he objected to it being made public.

“I’m basically not happy with documents that falsely accuse me of a serious crime being made public because then people can report what you’re falsely accused of and that’s just plain wrong for everyone. world,” he told 9News.

Dutton was among a number of high-profile government figures to be briefed by AFP on its assessment of Christensen’s trip.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was briefed six times while in office, and former Nationals executives Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack also received police briefings.

The Information Commissioner ruled in favor of 9News, issuing his finding on the letter on June 30. It was only published after the expiry of a time limit for appeal.

In her report, Commissioner Angeline Falk said she was “convinced that a public purpose would be served by the release of the document by increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and scrutiny of government operations.”

Letter sent by AFP to then Home Secretary Peter Dutton about George Christensen
The letter sent by AFP to then Home Secretary Peter Dutton. (New)

Christensen did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.


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