At the recommendation of Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO, the government is set to move on introducing laws to curb covert foreign interference.
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’ foreign agents registration act”.
This is due to growing fears about Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia’s political system. It has been reported that Senator Brandis has received detailed intelligence briefings that suggest Chinese Communist Party-affiliated lobbyists and business people have sought to exert influence in local, state and federal governments, and with ex-politicians in Australia.
While this is a step in the right direction more needs to be done to detail how far foreign donations are to be banned.
However, with the warning coming from ASIO on multiple occasions to politicians, the only options to stop foreign interference in Australia is to ban foreign donations to political parties, third parties and associated entities.