Australia By-elections could be 'targeted by foreign interference'

05:41  08 june  2018
05:41  08 june  2018 Source:   9news.com.au

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The government will push to have new anti-spy laws pass the parliament before the July 28 by - elections amid concerns the campaigns could be targeted by foreign interference .

Foreign electoral interventions are attempts by governments, covertly or overtly, to influence elections in another country. There are many ways that nations have accomplished regime change abroad

The government will push to have new anti-spy laws pass the parliament before the July 28 by-elections amid concerns the campaigns could be targeted by foreign interference.

Attorney-General Christian Porter will hold a media conference this morning after a parliamentary committee, chaired by former SAS captain and MP Andrew Hastie, released a review into new anti-spy laws.

Those laws would introduce tougher sentences for espionage and sabotage, make interfering with Australia's democracy illegal and outlaw the stealing of trade secrets by someone acting on behalf of a foreign government.

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A bipartisan deal was struck on Thursday to pass amended legislation targeting secret attempts by foreign spies to influence Australia's However, Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne downplayed concerns the by - elections could be compromised by foreign spies running interference operations.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Attorney-General Christian Porter is releasing a review into anti-spy laws. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Attorney-General Christian Porter is releasing a review into anti-spy laws. Last night Mr Porter released a statement saying, "Even in the time that it has taken to consider the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill, the threat environment has changed and become more acute."

The bill was originally introduced to parliament in December.

9NEWS has been told there is no specific threat against the by-elections, but that the current climate means those by-elections and the general election itself are most vulnerable to the threat of disruption.

That disruption could take place in the form of cyber hacking, or the funding of protest groups to create influence.

The government is concerned those seeking to disrupt democracy will use whatever processes they can.

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Democracy is threatened by interference in our elections , and by interference in our civil liberties. To restore confidence in our elections , each type of interference can and must be remedied, but time is short before the 2018 elections . To effectively deal with foreign election interference , we must

by Amanda Coletta May 5. TORONTO — In the wake of allegations of Russian interference in elections in the United States and elsewhere, the Canadian government unveiled sweeping legislation this week to ban foreign entities from But the more immediate problem could be a practical one.

a circuit board: 9NEWS has been told there is no specific threat against the by-elections, but that the current climate means those by-elections and the general election itself are most vulnerable. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd 9NEWS has been told there is no specific threat against the by-elections, but that the current climate means those by-elections and the general election itself are most vulnerable. The country's top spy - ASIO Chief Duncan Lewis - told a parliamentary inquiry last month foreign powers are actively undertaking espionage in Australia.

Mr Lewis said foreign spies try and shape views of Australian public, the media and even Australian officials.

The Attorney-General backed that up, "We now live in a time of unprecedented foreign intelligence activity against Australia with more foreign agents, from more foreign powers, using more tradecraft to engage in espionage and foreign interference than at any time since the Cold War."

There had been concerns from media groups the laws could criminalise journalism, but the parliamentary committee has recommended changes to the bill to strengthen the defence for journalists.

The laws will be put to parliament on June 18 and have bipartisan support so they are expected to pass.

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The introduction of application fees and tighter capital controls in China sees foreign investment in Australian real estate fall 66 per cent.The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) annual report found both the number and value of residential applications dropped significantly through 2016.

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