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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14495

Mr COLEMAN (BanksMinister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) (17:24): Australians expect their democracy to be robust, open and transparent. They expect to know, or to be able to easily find out, when a foreign government or other foreign actor is undertaking activities which are intended to influence our political systems or processes. The commencement of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme on 10 December last year was a major step forward in ensuring this is the case. For the very first time in Australia, the public and decision-makers in government have a mechanism for being made aware of the forms and sources of foreign influence in our democratic processes and institutions.

This bill makes a number of minor amendments to the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018. The amendments will clarify the operation of a number of key provisions and improve the workability of the scheme. These amendments will give better effect to the important transparency intention of the act and continue to enhance the Australian public's knowledge of the level and extent to which foreign sources may influence the conduct of Australia's elections, government and parliamentary decision-making, and the creation and implementation of laws and policy. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.