Malcolm Turnbull has sought security agency advice about a Liberal MP's decision to identify a Chinese-Australian billionaire allegedly involved in the bribery of a former UN General Assembly president.
The prime minister told parliament he had asked security chiefs for advice on the implications of Andrew Hastie's speech on Tuesday night.
Mr Hastie used parliamentary privilege to announce that a man known as "CC-3" in FBI documents about the bribery case was political donor Dr Chau Chak Wing.
"The same man who co-conspired to bribe the United Nations General Assembly president John Ashe, the same man with extensive contacts in the Chinese Communist Party," Mr Hastie said on Tuesday night.
Mr Ashe, an Antiguan diplomat, later died in his New York home when a barbell fell on his neck.
Mr Turnbull said Mr Hastie received the information from a US briefing, also attended by at least one Labor MP, which was not classified.
"The allegations are not new, they have been made before, they are subject to legal proceedings and I do not propose to say anything more about them," Mr Turnbull told parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Turnbull said MPs had the "hard-won" right to make speeches under parliamentary privilege.
"The first I learned of Mr Hastie's remarks was after he had given them ... I had no forewarning of it," Mr Turnbull told reporters.
Dr Chau's lawyer Mark O'Brien said in a statement his client was disappointed parliamentary privilege was used to "repeat old claims" just weeks before a defamation hearing.
"Our client has not been charged with any offence, which makes Mr Hastie's attack all the more extraordinary," the statement said.
He said his client was confident of being vindicated at the court hearing.
Mr Hastie tabled US State Department cables about Dr Chau's links to the Communist Party.
The FBI claimed Chinese-Australian woman Sheri Yan used $US200,000 of CC-3's money to bribe Mr Ashe in November 2013.
She pleaded guilty to the bribery charge and is serving a 20-month sentence.
Mr Hastie told parliament Dr Chau had undertaken defamation proceedings against the ABC and Fairfax.
News Corp also had to apologise to him.
Mr Hastie maintained it was in the national interest to name Dr Chau, in part because defamation cases had a "chilling effect" on a free press.
Mr Hastie, who chairs the joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and security, led a delegation to the US last month.
Dr Chau has not been charged in the US, he said.
Labor said the speech showed the need for bans on foreign donations to political parties, while the Greens said there should be a national anti-corruption watchdog.
Australian Associated Press