The Turnbull Government has announced a crackdown on foreign interference in Australian politics and national security. Proposed laws include a ban on foreign political donations, new criminal offences, and a transparency register for those acting on behalf of foreign governments or organisations.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull carefully emphasised that the proposals are not focused on China’s influence in Australia. But, as the Lowy Institute’s Euan Graham put it, there’s an “800-pound panda” in the room.
The proposed criminal offences will significantly expand the scope of existing laws against espionage and treason. This will make it easier to prosecute spies and other foreign nationals who seek undue influence over Australian business or politics.