Foreign influence - half the job done

The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill and the National Security Legislation (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Amendment Bill, passed through the Senate last night, will significantly curb foreign influence on our democratic system.

SENATOR DON FARRELL
SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SPORT
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
 
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
FOREIGN INFLUENCE – HALF THE JOB DONE
 

The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill and the National Security Legislation (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Amendment Bill, passed through the Senate last night, will significantly curb foreign influence on our democratic system.
 
But the government has only done half the job – it is still yet to ban foreign donations.
 
The government’s own bill to ban foreign donations is gathering dust. In fact, the government is yet to respond to the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters’ report on the bill, published in April.
 
The government’s failure to progress the bill through the Parliament means the coalition can continue raking in foreign money for at least the next six weeks until Parliament returns, including through the by-election period.
 
Labor voluntarily gave up taking foreign donations many months ago, in line with our policy of prohibiting foreign political donations.
 
You have to ask - why has the government failed to eliminate this very significant element of foreign influence, when it has acted so quickly on these other bills? Surely it is not because of monetary benefit to the party?
 
We call on the government to end their shameless hypocrisy, cease accepting foreign donations and legislate a ban as soon as Parliament resumes.
 
FRIDAY, 29 JUNE 2018