Civil society protections secured in transparency scheme report

Labor has secured important exemptions for charities, arts organisations and trade unions in today’s bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) report on the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme Bill 2017.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

CIVIL SOCIETY PROTECTIONS SECURED IN TRANSPARENCY SCHEME REPORT

Labor has secured important exemptions for charities, arts organisations and trade unions in today’s bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) report on the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme Bill 2017.

Labor has listened to feedback from these key civil society organisations, who were concerned they would be forced to deal with an unreasonable compliance burden in registering for the scheme.

It is clear the scheme was never meant to capture innocent charities, arts organisations or unions who were simply doing their job. Labor worked to ensure the scheme was better targeted, removing these organisations from its reach and improving the bill.

The amendments recommended in today’s report represent the second major set of changes to the original bill, introduced by the Prime Minister in December last year. Labor welcomes recognition from the government that the original bill was completely unworkable in its breadth.

Earlier amendments secured important protections for journalists, and narrowed the registration requirement in the bill to those working on behalf of a foreign government or foreign government-related entity.

Labor will always approach matters related to national security and protection of our democracy in a bipartisan manner, while ensuring the impacts on civil society and traditional liberties are limited.

Because of the committee’s work to improve the bill, the rights of charities and unions to undertake important advocacy, and for arts organisations to undertake international collaborations, have been protected.

Labor urges the government to adopt all the committee’s recommendations.

MONDAY, 25 JUNE 2018