2018-06-28 22:34:57 UTC
Australia passes foreign interference laws amid China tension
Australia's parliament has passed a package of new laws aimed at
preventing foreign interference in the country.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the crackdown last December.
Although he denied it was aimed specifically at China, the move has
added to diplomatic tensions with Beijing in recent months.
The wide-ranging laws, approved in the Senate on Thursday, target
foreign interference in politics and other domestic affairs, as well
Among key provisions, they will require lobbyists for foreign
governments to identify themselves on a public register.
In December, Mr Turnbull said the crackdown followed warnings by
intelligence agencies that were "necessarily classified".
"Foreign powers are making unprecedented and increasingly
sophisticated attempts to influence the political process, both here
and abroad," he said at the time.
He later acknowledged "disturbing reports about Chinese influence", an
assertion that has been strongly denied by Beijing.
Last week China's ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, reiterated
his warning that a "Cold War mentality" was undermining relations.