Australia passes foreign interference laws

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Canberra, June 28 (IANS) Australia’s parliament on Thursday passed a package of new laws aimed at preventing foreign interference in the country.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the crackdown last December, reports the BBC.

Although he denied it was aimed specifically at China, the move has added to diplomatic tensions with Beijing in recent months.

The government has described the wide-ranging laws, approved in the Senate, as the most significant counter-espionage reforms in Australia since the 1970s.

The approval comes after months of review by a parliamentary national security committee.

The laws criminalise covert, deceptive or threatening actions that are intended to interfere with democratic processes or provide intelligence to overseas governments.

They are designed to include actions that may have fallen short of previous definitions of espionage.

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The government also plans to ban foreign political donations through a separate bill later this year.

–IANS

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