Melbourne man becomes first accused under Australian foreign interference laws - GulfToday

Melbourne man becomes first accused under Australian foreign interference laws


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Gulf Today Report

Under new legislation introduced in 2018 the Australian police brought a Melbourne man who appeared in court on Thursday was the first person charged with foreign interference.

The details were not given to the media about which foreign state the 65-year-old man was accused of acting for.


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Back to 2018, when the foreign interference legislation was introduced to parliament, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull referred to media reports about covert interference by the Chinese Communist Party, and said he was galvanised to take action by a classified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) report.

Beijing took offence at the Australian political debate over the interference laws.

The statement said that, the man appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after the Australian Federal Police executed search warrants in Melbourne on Oct.16.

The charge, of preparing an act of foreign interference, followed an investigation into the man’s relationship with a foreign intelligence agency by the ASIO and federal police, it said.

Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney said the media in his statement that, “Foreign interference is contrary to Australia’s national interest, it goes to the heart of our democracy.”

He added, “It is corrupting and deceptive, and goes beyond routine diplomatic influence practiced by governments.”

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