The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017 (the Bill) and the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 (the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill) were introduced to the House of Representatives on 7 December 2017 by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcom Turnbull MP.
On 8 December 2017, the Prime Minister referred the bills to the Committee, requesting that the Committee, so far as possible, conduct its inquiry in public.
The Attorney-General’s Department (the Department) stated that foreign influence is, in many instances, ‘quite legitimate’. However, when done through an intermediary, the source of the influence is ‘disguised’, and decision-makers and the public alike may be unaware of the influences being brought to bear on Australian Government decision-making.