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 Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme

The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme commenced on 10 December 2018. The purpose of the scheme is to provide the public with visibility of the nature, level and extent of foreign influence on Australia's government and politics.

Obligations under the scheme

Individuals or entities are required to register certain activities (registrable activities) under the scheme if they are taken on behalf of a foreign principal.

You can view the Public Register here

A range of guidance materials is available on the Resources page to assist potential registrants to understand their obligations under the scheme. 

If you have registration obligations under the scheme, please go to the Registration portal to register.

Overview of the scheme

Broadly speaking, any person is required to register if:

  • they undertake registrable activities or enter into a registrable arrangement, and
  • the activity is, or will be undertaken in Australia on behalf of a foreign principal, and
  • the activity is undertaken for the purpose of political or governmental influence, and
  • no exemptions apply. 

In some cases this may depend on whether the person has held a senior public position in Australia.

A foreign principal includes:

  • a foreign government
  • a foreign political organisation
  • a foreign government related entity
  • a foreign government related individual.

Registrable activities include:

  • parliamentary lobbying
  • general political lobbying
  • communications activities
  • disbursement activity (payment of money or things of value).

There are also additional registration obligations for activities undertaken by former Cabinet Ministers and recent designated position holders (eg former Commonwealth politicians, their staff and senior public servants).

If the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department is satisfied that a person is a foreign government related entity or individual, the scheme also allows for the Secretary to issue a transparency notice – which makes this determination clear to the public. 

The scheme also establishes criminal offences for:

  • failing to comply with obligations under the scheme
  • failing to register in circumstances where a person is required to do so
  • providing false or misleading information and destroying records to avoid registration obligations.

For more detailed information about the scheme, please refer to the Resources page.