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14    Administration— Foreign powers—Interference with domestic political and electoral affairs

Senator Urquhart, at the request of Senator Farrell and pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 345—That the Senate—

               (a)       notes the:

                                     (i)       ongoing reports about foreign powers seeking to interfere in the domestic political and electoral affairs of Australia and other sovereign nations, including the revelations reported by the Four Corners program on 5 June 2017, and

                                    (ii)       highly concerning nature of any attempt by a foreign power to interfere in the domestic political and electoral affairs of sovereign nations such as Australia, especially where it involves direct or indirect interference in the electoral process;

               (b)       calls on the Prime Minister to support a bipartisan reference to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) to inquire into and report on possible measures to address the risk posed by foreign governments and their agents seeking to improperly interfere in Australia’s domestic political and electoral affairs; and

                (c)       acknowledges:

                                     (i)       the current threat posed by foreign governments and their agents seeking to interfere in the domestic political and electoral affairs of sovereign nations, both in Australia and abroad,

                                    (ii)       the source of that threat, including direct interference by foreign governments, such as through foreign intelligence and security services, and indirect interference through proxies, such as lobbyists, business representatives and other agents,

                                  (iii)       existing measures to address foreign interference in domestic political and electoral affairs currently in place in comparable overseas jurisdictions, such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand,

                                  (iv)       existing measures currently in place under Australian law which may be adapted or expanded to defend against interference by foreign governments or their agents in Australia’s domestic political and electoral affairs, and

                                   (v)       all direct and indirect influence by foreign intelligence agencies, including through traditional and social media, as well as cyber security attacks.

Statement by leave : The Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister (Senator McGrath), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Senator Ludlam, at the request of the Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Di Natale), moved the following amendments together by leave:

Paragraph (b), omit “bipartisan”, substitute “multi-partisan”.

At the end of the motion, add:

                                  (vi)       that the Australian Greens and other minority groups and independent senators are unrepresented on the PJCIS, and that it would be highly inappropriate for only members of the Liberal and Labor parties to be represented on an inquiry into this matter, considering that members of these parties would be subjects of the inquiry; and

               (d)       calls for 1 member of the Australian Greens and 1 member of a minority group or independent to be appointed to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for the purpose of any inquiry into the risk of interference of foreign powers or their agents in Australian domestic political and electoral affairs.

Question—That the amendments be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 19

Senators—

Burston

Hanson-Young

Ludlam

Siewert*

Di Natale

Hinch

McKim

Waters

Georgiou

Kakoschke-Moore

Rhiannon

Whish-Wilson

Griff

Lambie

Rice

Xenophon

Hanson

Leyonhjelm

Roberts

 

 

 

NOES, 31

Senators—

Abetz

Fierravanti-Wells

Macdonald

Reynolds

Bernardi

Fifield

Marshall

Ruston

Birmingham

Gallacher

McGrath

Ryan

Bushby

Gallagher

McKenzie

Smith

Cameron

Gichuhi

Moore

Sterle

Canavan

Hume

O’Sullivan

Urquhart*

Collins

Ketter

Paterson

Williams

Duniam

Lines

Pratt

 

* Tellers

Question negatived.

Main question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 40

Senators—

Bernardi

Gallacher

Kitching

Rice

Brown

Gallagher

Lambie

Roberts

Burston

Georgiou

Ludlam

Siewert

Cameron

Gichuhi

Marshall

Singh

Carr

Griff

McKim

Sterle

Chisholm

Hanson

Moore

Urquhart*

Collins

Hanson-Young

O’Neill

Waters

Dastyari

Hinch

Polley

Watt

Di Natale

Kakoschke-Moore

Pratt

Whish-Wilson

Farrell

Ketter

Rhiannon

Xenophon

 

 

NOES, 24

Senators—

Abetz

Fierravanti-Wells

McKenzie

Ruston

Birmingham

Fifield

Nash

Ryan

Bushby*

Hume

O’Sullivan

Scullion

Canavan

Leyonhjelm

Paterson

Seselja

Duniam

Macdonald

Payne

Smith

Fawcett

McGrath

Reynolds

Williams

* Tellers

Question agreed to.