Andrew Hastie Beijing Yang Hengjun
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Canberra-based “think tank” China Matters has been long known in government circles as the “Secretaries China Club" -- meaning a club for Canberra’s most senior public servants, departmental secretaries. And now it turns out that China Matters is mostly funded by the Australian taxpayer.

This is the same China Matters that was embarrassed when it failed to get visas for Liberal Party politicians Andrew Hastie and Senator James Patterson to visit China on one of the think tank's “study tours”.

Its funders include the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Defence, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Attorney-General’s Department.