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giftedviz.com December 18, 2017


Australia bans foreign donations to political parties after China controversy

06 December 2017, 01:20 | Darnell Patrick

Australia to Battle'Foreign Meddling' Expand Treason Espionage Definitions REUTERS Mick Tsikas

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks at a news conference at Parliament House in Canberra

But this week it was revealed that not only did Dastyari understate the extent of his comments about the South China Sea (a recording of his comments was leaked to the mainstream media), but he also alerted a Chinese businessman that he might be under Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) surveillance.

"Foreign interference is a global issue. for example, we're all familiar with very credible reports that Russian Federation sought to actively undermine the United States' election. the threat is real", Turnbull said.

"Being registered should not be seen as any kind of taint and certainly not as a crime", Mr Turnbull said.

"This will be the most significant overhaul of our espionage, counter intelligence, political donation legislative framework in decades", he told reporters in Canberra. Criminal penalties await those who will fail to do so.

Australia and neighbouring New Zealand are among roughly a third of countries worldwide that allow foreign donations to political parties.

Under the new laws, the offence of espionage will cover not only the passing on of information, but possessing and receiving it as well. "This activity is being directed against a range of Australian interests, from our political systems, to our commercial interests, to expatriate communities who have made Australia their home".

"If you act covertly on behalf of a foreign actor, in a way that harms Australia's national security, to influence the political process, or a Government decision, that conduct will be criminalised", Senator Brandis said. He cited "disturbing reports about Chinese influence".

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Senator Brandis said under the new legislation, former trade minister Andrew Robb would need to register under the transparency scheme.

"If GetUp! were to change focus, if they were to stop involvement in political campaigning in the future and become a charity [and] only be involved in non-political activities, then they would be absolutely free to receive and use foreign donations", Senator Cormann said.

Under the new laws, it will be a crime for a person to engage in conduct on behalf of a foreign principal that will influence a political or governmental process, including opposition party policy, and is either covert or involves deception.

GetUp! said in a statement only 0.5% of its donations come from overseas.

China has declared it does not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and Beijing has urged the Turnbull government to "discard prejudice" and deepen the bilateral relationship rather than pursue measures aimed at shoring up Australia from the risks of foreign interference.

"Similarly, it does not prevent charities from engaging in political activities in Australia, as long as the political expenditure incurred to fund that political activity is raised from Australians".

Anyone who engages with Australian politics on behalf of a foreign state will be required to register their ties. "I have discussed the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and denounced plans for Mao commemoration concerts in Australia".



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