Bombshell details emerge about politician who ‘sold out Australia’ to foreign spies – as calls grow for their identity to be revealed

The head of ASIO has revealed the former politician who ‘sold out Australia’ was  serving as an MP at the time.

Mike Burgess first revealed on Wednesday night an ex-politician had become caught up in a spy ring, however he remained tight-lipped about their identity.

The director-general further revealed more details to SBS on Sunday saying the politician was serving as an MP at the time – but would not clarify if they were part of state, territory or federal parliament.

‘I can understand a view that it’s in the public interest (to name the person), but I don’t agree with that,’ he said.

His comment comes as calls grow to reveal the identity of the former politician with Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie urging Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil to ‘use parliamentary privilege’ to gain the information. 

After shocking the country on Thursday by revealing that a former politician had ‘sold out Australia’ , spy agency chief Mike Burgess (pictured) has now revealed more details, including a possible money motivation

Mr Burgess gave an insight to what could lead a politician to betray their own country, including that money or coercion could be involved.

He would not get into the specific motivation behind the case he referred to.

‘In general, motivation could be many things,’ he said. 

‘It could be money, it could be political beliefs. It could be for years a foreign intelligence service has actually cultivated a relationship with you, built a sense of indebtedness so you feel like you owe someone something.

‘It could be coercion, it could be some blackmail going on. There’s a number of reasons why these things happen in general, but in particular cases, and even in the case I’ve share, I won’t go into details.’

Mr Burgess said he shed public light on the former politician to highlight awareness around the real threat of spies, saying it was not the first time of political interference. 

‘Importantly, though, if I shared the details of who it was, they might figure out how I worked out who it was or how my organisation (did) and that’s my secret source and I need to protect that,’ he said. 

Mr Burgess said unmasking the former politician who betrayed the nation by helping a foreign spy ring would hurt future intelligence gathering.

His revelation that a person had been caught out led to wild speculation about who they were and at what level of politics they were at.

ASIO had been following the activities of the foreign spy ring for ‘less than a decade but a number of years’.

‘If anyone’s looking for a political point score by naming one individual, I’d encourage them to think carefully about what they’re asking for,’ he added.

Mr Burgess is still keeping what parliament - state, territory or federal - they served in under wraps. The federal parliament is pictured

Mr Burgess is still keeping what parliament – state, territory or federal – they served in under wraps. The federal parliament is pictured

The identity of the person was beside the point, cabinet minister Jason Clare said.

‘The point is that there’s evidence here from the head of ASIO that says another country has interfered in Australian politics, contacting a politician,’ he told Sky News on Sunday.

‘He’s made the point that this is still a real threat and that we need to be on our guard against this.

‘This is not a game of guess who, this is about keeping the country safe – the fact that this happened in the first place is deadly serious.’

Ms McKenzie said the former politician did not deserve to be protected and urged the Home Affairs minister to intervene.

‘I think it is beholden on Clare O’Neil as the minister to absolutely use parliamentary privilege in a responsible way, with integrity, and name this person. They sought to betray our country,’ she said.

‘They do not deserve to be protected in any way by the political class.’