An influential cross bench senator will use the furore surrounding Liberal MP Gladys Liu's links to Beijing to make a renewed push for a parliamentary inquiry into Australia's relations with China.
Centre Alliance's Rex Patrick has flagged his intention to lodge another motion in the Senate next week after the proposal was voted down this week.
"In light of political developments this week, I am more determined than ever to press for a comprehensive parliamentary review of Australia's relations with China," he said on Thursday.
Ms Liu, a first-term Victorian MP, is under pressure after belatedly admitting she was once part of a Chinese government propaganda unit.
The major parties on Monday voted against Senator Patrick's inquiry, with Labor preferring to ask for briefings on Chinese relations rather than have the issue examined by a Senate committee.
But the government rebuffed the request for broader agency briefings for MPs.
"In these circumstances, the Labor opposition would be well advised to embrace Centre Alliance's proposed Senate inquiry," Senator Patrick said.
Labor senator Kimberley Kitching would chair the inquiry as head of parliament's foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee.
Senator Patrick said it would provide a much-needed forum for comprehensive and sober discussion of Australia's relationship with China.
"If Labor is not now prepared to support the proposed inquiry, there will little doubt that behind their current political bluster relating to the controversy surrounding (Ms) Liu, they are running scared on the issue of China," he said.
He said it would be good to get the government on board but it appeared to want to suppress debate on China policy.
Australian Associated Press