The dirty tricks have well and truly begun in the lead-up to next year’s election campaign.
This week my lawyers have written to and received a response from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in relation to recent false allegations in the media.
In their letter, which I have released in full to the Courier Mail, the AFP make it clear that the allegation which triggered an automatic assessment by the AFP (as all allegations do) was made by an individual and not a government agency as has been claimed by certain media outlets. The AFP have stated that the allegation was made by an individual who had no knowledge of the conduct they were alleging. It is now widely known this individual was a Labor MP.
This debunks claims that government agencies such as AUSTRAC and DFAT had referred allegations to the AFP months before a Labor MP referred their allegations. There was only ever one referral and that was made by a Labor MP.
More importantly, the AFP have categorically denied they had any concern over so-called encrypted messages on my mobile phone or any other electronic device. The AFP also confirm that, in the wake of media reports, I have offered them my mobile phone to inspect and they have declined the offer because they have no concerns with it or any messages on it.
These two fake allegations were passed off as fact in the media in articles published in print and online which have named me. Journalists also named me in connection with these fake allegations and claimed they were fact on Twitter.
I have clear legal advice that I have been defamed and have issued instructions to my solicitors to seek redress for these defamatory claims.
Now that the facts are clear, I call on all media outlets who have published these claims to immediately retract them and to apologise publicly for publishing fake allegations.
Finally, I repeat that the AFP have advised in their letter that the allegations made against me were not supported by any information or evidence, and that I have not committed any criminal conduct. In all fairness, this must now end this matter.
Here is the Courier Mail story in full:
George Christensen in clear as federal police reject allegations
FEDERAL police have knocked back George Christensen’s offer to hand over his phone for examination as they take the extraordinary step of systematically rejecting the scandalous allegations levelled against the Dawson MP.
New details can be revealed today as marginal seat holders brace themselves for one of the dirtiest election campaigns in recent history.
The rare step by the Australian Federal Police points to their belief that the unfounded referral against Mr Christensen was politically motivated and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Last week it was reported that a federal MP was travelling and sending money to “seedy” neighbourhoods in South-East Asia. Mr Christensen, who met his fiancee in the Philippines, travels there regularly for philanthropic reasons and is connected to a number of Christians in the region.
The AFP do not reveal who they are investigating and rarely reveal that a referral was unfounded. However, Deputy Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour has refuted the claims made against Mr Christensen.
He stated there was never a referral from a government agency into the MP’s travel, or from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.
A senior Labor MP is believed to have made a referral.
Mr Jabbour put in writing that:
• “The AFP completed a thorough assessment in relation to this matter and found there was no evidence or other information to support the allegation or establish criminal conduct on the part of Mr Christensen.
• “The AFP received information alleging that MP George Christensen engaged in conduct overseas potentially in contravention of Australian law. The information was provided to the AFP by a third party with no direct knowledge of the alleged conduct. The assessment was not triggered by a referral from a government agency.
• “AFP inquiries were not inhibited due to an inability to access encrypted messages Mr Christensen sent online.
• “The AFP can confirm that in the wake of media reports relating to encrypted messages, Mr Christensen has offered his mobile device to the AFP for examination and that offer has been declined.”
A furious Mr Christensen, whose marginal seat is being eyed by Labor, said the allegations were a new low in politics.
“The AFP have stated that the allegation was made by an individual who had no knowledge of the conduct they were alleging. It is now widely known this individual was a Labor MP,’’ he said.
“This debunks claims that government agencies such as AUSTRAC and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had referred allegations to the AFP months before a Labor MP referred their allegations. There was only ever one referral and that was made by a Labor MP.
“The AFP have categorically denied they had any concern over so-called encrypted messages on my mobile phone.”