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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 3779


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (15:41): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 868, standing in my name and those of Senators Rhiannon and McKim for today, relating to charities and foreign interference legislation.

Leave granted.

Senator SIEWERT: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) on Friday, 15 June 2018, the Hands Off Our Charities Alliance released a set of 'Red Line Principles' that provide guidance to Parliament in light of some recent government proposals around foreign involvement in Australian politics, and

   (ii) the Red Line Principles provide a framework to enable Parliament to get the balance right in promoting and protecting public participation in our democracy while recognising concerns over improper influence from big business and foreign entities;

(b) affirms that it is critical that the ability of charities and not-for-profits to use funding for issues-based advocacy is not restricted; that there is a clear distinction between issues-based advocacy and politically partisan electioneering, which is already regulated in the Charities Act 2013; and that organisations do not face a greater compliance burden; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

   (i) support the Red Line Principles, and

   (ii) work to ensure that any bill seeking to deal with the problem of covert foreign influence in Australia does not have unintended consequences, including adverse impacts on charities and on freedom of the press.