Trusting the government to protect civil liberties? That’s a sick joke

We asked five non-government organisations to explain what their major concerns were regarding new foreign interference and espionage laws

Civil society groups and media organisations are raising alarms bells about two bills the government is hoping to get passed before the byelections in July.

A bipartisan deal was reached last week to pass amended legislation to target secret attempts by foreign spies to influence Australia’s politicians and media (the espionage and foreign interference bill), and on a second bill forcing individuals and companies acting on behalf of foreign powers to be listed on a public register (the foreign influence transparency scheme bill).

Related: Coalition pressures Labor to urgently pass spy laws to avert ‘general chaos’ at byelections

Overreach of a government that is demonstrably intolerant of reasonable democratic dissent

We’ll be responsible for our own deteriorating democracy

Related: Spy laws: 60 changes revealed but Coalition and Labor expected to pass ‘terrifying’ legislation

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