Australia politics live: Morrison hails UK free trade agreement; Victoria records five new local Covid cases

By Amy Remeikis

20:25

Home affairs minister says some media reports about Tharnicaa’s medical condition 'inaccurate'

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Foreign influence transparency scheme is constitutional

The high court has upheld the validity of Australia’s foreign influence transparency scheme, designed to disclose foreign influence in domestic politics.

The scheme was challenged by LibertyWorks, the organiser of the Australian Conservative Political Action Conference in Australia, on the basis it infringes the implied freedom of political communication.

On Wednesday five justices of the court upheld the validity of the scheme, finding it did not infringe the implied freedom of political communication, and ordered LibertyWorks to pay the commonwealth’s costs.

In separate judgments, justices Stephen Gageler and Michelle Gordon dissented, with the latter finding the scheme is invalid to the extent it applies to communication activity and should be read down to require registration only for activities designed to influence the government.

The foreign influence scheme, launched in December 2018, requires individuals or entities to register if they are conducting lobbying, communications activity, or making payments on behalf of a foreign principal for the purpose of political or governmental influence.

The scheme was introduced as part of a package largely directed at the influence of China in Australia, but put conservatives offside when the attorney general’s department investigated whether LibertyWorks and former prime minister Tony Abbott should have to register.

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19:36

Greens want to 'destroy the social fabric of society', says acting PM

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18:27

Victoria records five new local Covid cases

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