Alistair Coe has staunchly defended Liberal candidate Robert Johnson, saying his colleague shouldn't be held responsible for articles published in Chinese state media outlets which made false claims about his military service.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr last week called his opponent's integrity into question after The Canberra Times reported on an article which stated Mr Johnson was selected by the Australian Army to serve in a special taskforce in Afghanistan.
The 2015 article, which was reproduced across different Chinese language websites, quoted Mr Johnson recalling "bullets whizzing over his head" during his tour in the Middle East.
Mr Johnson was a member of the Army Reserve between 2013 and 2015, but was never deployed overseas.
The Canberra Liberals last week said Mr Johnson was incorrectly quoted in the articles. They said the Kurrajong candidate had succeeded in having the original article removed, but other versions remained online.
Mr Coe stood by his candidate when questioned by reporters on Monday.
"It is always frustrating and disappointing when people are misquoted by media outlets. Unfortunately it is something of a bit of a hazard of the job of a politician," Mr Coe said.
"Robert was misquoted by a media outlet. He can't be held accountable or responsible for the actions of someone else."
Mr Coe praised Mr Johnson as an active member of the Canberra community. He rejected any suggestion that the candidate had links to the Chinese Communist Party.
"All of these suggestions that are being made by opponents primarily are unfounded and unwarranted," he said.
"I don't think they should be besmirching his reputation."