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30    Law and Justice— Influence of foreign agents—Proposed Royal Commission

Senator Bernardi, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 335—That the Senate—

               (a)       notes reports, arising from a joint investigation by the ABC Four Corners program and Fairfax Media, broadcast on 5 June 2017, regarding the increasing influence of the People’s Republic of China in Australia’s political system and within academia; and

               (b)       calls on the Prime Minister to request His Excellency the Governor-General issue Letters Patent to establish a royal commission into the following:

                                     (i)       the influence of foreign agents in offering direct or indirect benefits to politicians, political parties, governments and academia with a view to influencing decisions or other actions by those recipients to be in accord with the view of foreign governments, including, but not limited to, the Chinese Communist Party, and

                                    (ii)       possible reforms to preserve the sovereignty, transparency and integrity of Australian democracy.

Senator Rhiannon, by leave, moved the following amendment:

Omit subparagraphs (b)(i) and (ii), substitute “the corrupting influence of large political donations on the transparency and the integrity of Australian democracy”.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put.

The Senate proceeded to divide, but the call for the division was withdrawn by leave.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and negatived.

Statements by leave : The Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister (Senator McGrath) and Senators Farrell and Rhiannon, by leave, made statements relating to the motion.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 10

Senators—

Bernardi*

Griff

Lambie

Roberts

Burston

Hanson

Leyonhjelm

Xenophon

Georgiou

Kakoschke-Moore

 

 

 

NOES, 42

Senators—

Abetz

Gallagher

McKenzie

Pratt

Back

Gichuhi

McKim

Reynolds

Bushby

Hanson-Young

Moore

Rhiannon

Cameron

Hinch

Nash

Rice

Canavan

Hume

O’Neill

Ryan

Cash

Ketter

O’Sullivan

Scullion

Di Natale

Kitching

Parry

Siewert

Duniam

Lines

Paterson

Urquhart*

Fierravanti-Wells

Ludlam

Payne

Waters

Fifield

McAllister

Polley

Whish-Wilson

Gallacher

McGrath

 

* Tellers

Question negatived.