WAYNE SWAN. Foreign influence and foreign donations in Australia.

The debate over foreign influence in our domestic politics and policymaking is an important one for our country – too important for political point-scoring and manipulation by vested interests and political vendettas.  

In recent months, I have watched with dismay a series of stories of leaks about linkages between political individuals, foreign governments and political donations.

Policy frameworks that ensure that the power of big money and foreign influence is transparent and controlled are critical to the future of our democracy.

Therefore, as a country, we must ensure that our legislation dealing with these questions is rigorous and has bipartisan support.

Over the past week, there have been a series of leaks targeted at selected members of the Labor Party, which appear to have come from security agencies and others associated with an investigation ordered by the Prime Minister.

Anyone who has followed this debate over the past five years knows that foreign donations to the Liberal Party have far exceeded those to any other party.

In the interests of bipartisan support for a legislative framework that deals with the critical question of foreign influence and foreign donations, it’s critical that the security agencies and the government get this discussion back onto a political framework that works in the interests of all Australians – not just the Liberal Party.

Wayne Swan was former Australian Treasurer.

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John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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