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A suspected Chinese spy just waltzed out of Australia.

This would be a joke if it wasn’t so bloody serious. He tried to get a plant for the Chinese Government elected into Parliament, then walks out of the country without so much as a word from our spy agency. These laws have got to change.

A suspected spy who allegedly sought to put a Chinese agent in federal parliament was able to leave Australia after being questioned at the airport, exposing a gap in national security laws.

Melbourne businessman and spy suspect Brian Chen has apparently abandoned plans to return to Australia as new information emerges about his alleged operations for China, including that he was granted access to the historic summit meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore in 2018 by posing as an accredited journalist.

The ease with which Mr Chen was able to leave Australia last March despite the allegations that were raised against him has highlighted what security officials believe is a serious legislative gap: ASIO’S inability to coercively question suspected spies. No formal action, including laying criminal charges, has been taken against Mr Chen and he denied spying allegations when he was confronted at the airport last year.

Security agencies say the lack of coercive questioning powers is hampering the agencies' ability to safeguard national security. Federal Coalition MPs on parliament’s security committee have been briefed on the matter. Former ASIO chief Duncan Lewis warned recently that foreign interference and espionage were at an all-time high and undermining Australia’s sovereignty.

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