Australia bans covert foreign interference in politics

Australia’s parliament passed sweeping national security legislation on Thursday that bans covert foreign interference in domestic politics and makes industrial espionage for a foreign power a crime. The two bills covering foreign interference, espionage and influence transparency have been criticized as criminalizing dissent. The Senate made them law with the support of the center-left Labor Party opposition, AP reported. The conservative government says the legislation, first proposed in December, is the major cause of a rift in diplomatic relations with China. However, the government maintains it is not aimed at any particular country.