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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8419

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (17:31): I did actually address this earlier. Under the Australian Constitution, Australians—including Australian businesses, Australian organisations and Australian residents—are entitled to participate in our democracy. There's nothing wrong with Australians seeking to influence each other in terms of how they ultimately vote. The ultimate decision is a decision for individual voters who vote in secrecy. That is, of course, the way the process works. What we are very deliberately seeking here is to prevent attempts of foreign interference in our domestic democratic process. In particular, through the ban on foreign political donations, we are seeking to prevent and prohibit influence by foreign donors on our Australian democratic process. In terms of attempting to do what Senator Hanson appears to be suggesting we should consider, which is similar to what the Greens appear to have been suggesting, the best available advice we have is that that would not be constitutionally sustainable.