A Chinese Messaging app '''WeChat,, appears to have blocked access to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's account, prompting one senator to call for a boycott of the service by the whole parliament.
Senator James Paterson, the chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, said on Monday that the PM's team had been unable to access the WeChat account for months. Despite official representations from Morrison's office, it was eventually transferred out of the government's hands in early January, he told the media. "In my opinion, given WeChat's close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, this amounts to foreign interference in our democracy, especially during an election year," he added.
On Monday, the prime minister's office had no immediate reaction. On Monday morning in China, attempts to locate Scott Morrison's WeChat account were futile. WeChat is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with over a billion users worldwide. China's government censors critical information on a daily basis, including on Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat. A request for comment from Tencent was not immediately returned.
Many Australian politicians, including opposition Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, use WeChat to communicate with China's enormous diaspora. According to the 2016 census, around 5.6 percent of the population — more than one in every 20 people — claimed Chinese ancestry.
All Australian politicians should refrain from using WeChat until the prime minister's account is restored, according to Paterson. He stated, "No one should be legitimising their censorship and control over our public dialogue."
Albanese told the media that he will speak with Morrison about the WeChat incident, which he warned might have "national security implications." Former ambassador and current Morrison coalition politician Dave Sharma told Sky News that the decision to limit access to the prime minister's account was "more likely than not state-sanctioned." "It demonstrates Beijing's stance toward free speech and freedom of expression," he remarked.