Senate debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

National Security

4:30 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Small and Family Business) Share this | | Hansard source

I table a response to a question taken on notice during question time on 19 September 2018 and asked by Senator Bernardi relating to the expansion of foreign interference in Australia and seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—


Minister for Finance and the Public Service

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Dear Mr President

I write with regard to a question I took on notice from Senator Bernardi on Wednesday 19 September 2018, on the matter of the expansion of foreign interference in Australia.

I am advised that the Department of Home Affairs is overseeing the development of a comprehensive, whole of government strategy to counter foreign interference. The Government has appointed a National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator within the Department of Home Affairs to ensure a whole of government approach to counter foreign interference efforts.

Furthermore, in June 2018, the Government passed the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act and Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act. These two Acts strengthen existing espionage offences and increase penalties, and introduce the new offence of unlawful foreign interference.

I have copied this letter to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Home Affairs, and Senator Bernardi.

Kind regards,

Mathias Cormann

Minister for Finance and the Public Service

20 September 2018