Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 (Cth)
University-wide requirement. Lower impacts.
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Australian Government - Attorney General's Department
, Attorney General
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VC Compliance Delegate
Chris Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research
Faraz Hasan, Director, Research Services
Business Units Impacted
The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme aims to provide the public and government decision-makers with visibility of the nature, level and extent of foreign influence on Australia's government and political process. The scheme introduces registration obligations for persons and entities who have arrangements with, and undertake certain activities on behalf of, foreign principals. Whether a person or entity is required to register will depend on who the foreign principal is, the nature of the activities undertaken, the purpose for which the activities are undertaken, and in some cases, whether the person has held a senior public position in Australia.
Under the scheme, people or entities that undertake certain activities on behalf of a foreign principal for the purpose of political or governmental influence are required to register unless an exemption applies.
A foreign principal includes: a foreign government; a foreign political organisation; a foreign government related entity and a foreign government related individual.
Categories of registrable activities include: parliamentary lobbying on behalf of a foreign government; parliamentary lobbying on behalf of other kinds of foreign principals for the purpose of political or governmental influence; •general political lobbying for the purpose of political or governmental influence; communications activities for the purpose of political or government influence; disbursement activities for the purpose of political or governmental influence; activities undertaken by former Cabinet ministers on behalf of a foreign principal
•activities undertaken by recent designated position holders in the 15 year period immediately following their public role where those activities draw on the knowledge, skills or experience gained in their previous role.
UNE may have an obligation to report in the event that it is involved in or aware of a registrable activity.
The scheme also:
•allows for the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department to issue a transparency notice if the Secretary is satisfied that a person is a foreign government related entity, or a foreign government related individual, and
•establishes criminal offences ranging from failing to comply with obligations under the scheme, through to failing to register in circumstances where a person is required to do so.