China has no intention to interfere in Australia's internal affairs: FM spokesperson


Australia will ban foreign interference in its politics, either through espionage or financial donations, in a move motivated largely by Russia's alleged involvement in last year's United States election and China's growing influence on the global political landscape.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reportedly said Tuesday the country's new laws would ban foreign political donations to avoid external interference in domestic politics, citing "disturbing reports about Chinese influence".

Mr Turnbull said Australia was proudly multicultural but the government must recognise there were more attempts to influence Australia's political processes thanks to modern technology.

"Foreign powers are making unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process, both here and overseas", Mr Turnbull said.

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"Now, to ensure that there is no inappropriate foreign interference in our democratic system, we are banning all foreign donations, as I've said".

"We must ensure that our politics and our Parliament are strong enough to withstand attempts by foreign powers to interfere or influence", he added in a statement.

The push to curb foreign interference follows growing concerns about meddling by Chinese individuals and entities in Australian politics and universities.

People or organizations acting in the interests of foreign powers would be required to register and disclose their ties, Turnbull said, adding that foreign political donations would also be banned. Attorney-General George Brandis clarified the terms, saying anyone who acts covertly on behalf of a foreign actor in a manner that harms Australia's national security or to influence a government decision or a political process will be criminalised, SBS reports.

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The overhaul has been prompted by criticism of Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, over his links to a Chinese donor.

He said the foreign donation ban will be introduced in the Senate later this week. It won't only be just sending information but also receiving information.

The new laws would apply to organisations like GetUp, the government also confirmed.

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