Anti-China “foreign interference” bills rammed through Australian parliament


Anti-China “foreign interference” bills rammed through Australian parliament

Mike Head

29 June 2018

Working in lockstep with the Labor Party, the Liberal-National Coalition government last night pushed through the Australian parliament the most extensive, anti-democratic legislation in the country since World War II.

With the two parties using their combined numbers to cut off debate, two massive “foreign interference bills” were passed by both houses of parliament in near-record time—less than three days.

Totalling some 150 pages, the Espionage and Foreign Interference (EFI) and Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS) laws constitute a far-reaching assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights.

Drawn up entirely behind the backs of the Australian people, the bills are key parts of a sweeping package of draconian legislation. It has a twin purpose: to prepare for Australian involvement in a US-led war against China, and to create police-state conditions that criminalise opposition to the war drive and the accompanying deepening attack on working class living conditions.

The haste to bulldoze the laws through parliament is bound up with intensifying pressure from Washington, where the legislation is regarded as a precedent-setting model.

The legislation is also seen by the Trump administration and throughout US ruling circles as a test of the Australian political establishment’s commitment to the escalating US trade and military confrontation against China, Australia’s largest export market.

When he first introduced the bills last December, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence” as justification for the measures.

Those still-secret “reports” were delivered by the Australian intelligence…

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