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Australia warns of cold war-style espionage as it passes law banning covert foreign interference in politics

Australia passed two pieces of national security legislation that critics complain criminalizes dissent and is unnecessarily directed towards China, the country’s largest trading partner. The laws ban covert foreign interference in politics, criminalize industrial espionage, and create a public register where lobbyists for foreign governments must be listed. Proponents emphasize the improved national security and transparency aspects of the bill, with the Attorney General stating, “…we live in a time of unprecedented foreign intelligence activity against Australia with more foreign agents, from more foreign powers, using more tradecraft to engage in espionage and foreign interference than at any time since the cold war…this sends a strong message to those who would seek to undermine our way of life that Australia is acutely aware of activities against our national security and will continue to take the steps necessary to thwart their activities.” Another bill to ban foreign donations to political entities is also being drafted. 

Source: Australia warns of cold war-style espionage as it passes law banning covert foreign interference in politics | South China Morning Post

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