In 2017 the Government introduced a package of bills to address foreign interference in Australian politics.
The Federal Government introduced these three Bills without public consultation, and with minimal regulatory impact assessment.
The Government touted the trio of Bills as necessary to block inappropriate influence by foreign entities on Australian politics and elections. However, legal experts warned that the Bills would have a chilling effect on public interest advocacy by charities and other not-for-profit organisations, threatening the health of our democracy.
The Hands Off Our Charities Alliance successfully lobbied the Australian Parliament to significantly amend the Electoral Legislation Amendments Bill, and the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill, enabling the Government to achieve its legitimate objectives without silencing civil society voices.
St Vincent de Paul Warns Foreign Donations Bill Will Mute the Voice of Charities, Luke Michael, Pro Bono Australia, 2018
Charities Urged to Have Their Say on Foreign Donations Bill, Wendy Williams, Pro Bono Australia, 2018
Labor and Greens back charities’ objections to foreign influence laws, Labor and Greens back these Red-Line Principles, 2018
New Charity Sector Push To Withdraw Foreign Interference Bills, Luke Michael, Pro Bono Australia, 2018
How do Australia’s Foreign Interference Laws Compare to Draconian States?, Wendy Williams, Pro Bono Australia, 2018
Charities warn foreign influence register could harm development work, Paul Karp, The Guardian, 2018
Charities, unions and arts bodies win reprieve from foreign influence register, Paul Karp, The Guardian, 2018
Review of foreign donations bill puts charities on alert, Luke Michael, Pro Bono Australia, 2021
Silencing Australians: The result of the federal government’s proposed donations ban, Charities Joint Media Statement, 2017
Final HOOC EFDR Submission 2021, Submission to the Review of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018, 29 January 2021