Foreign spies, lobbyists and donations will be targeted under sweeping new laws that seek to fight interference with Australia’s democratic institutions and influence on politicians.
Confirming on Tuesday the completion of a review into espionage and foreign interference laws, Attorney-General George Brandis on Tuesday said the new laws would include a long-awaited ban on foreign donations and a US-style foreign agents’ register.
Attorney-General George Brandis says the Government is developing new legislation to combat foreign spying and interference in Australian affairs.
The tougher sanctions will tackle covert foreign interference, “a problem of the highest order [that] is getting worse” according to Senator Brandis.
“The Director-General of ASIO, the agency primarily responsible for investigating espionage, has advised that foreign intelligence activity against Australia continues to occur on an unprecedented scale. Espionage and covert foreign interference can cause immense harm to our economic prosperity and the very integrity of Australian democracy,” he said, while also pointing to interference in the elections of other liberal democracies, such as by Russia in the 2016 US Presidential election.
The new laws will include “legislation to ban foreign political donations, legislation to enhance and reform the espionage and foreign interference related offences in the Criminal Code, and introducing a foreign influence transparency scheme, modelled in part on the United States’s foreign agents registration act”.
What about in universities and, for that matter, the biggest bribe of all in house prices? Ban the lot.