The Abacus

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act

By: ACBC National

In December 2018 the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act commenced with the intention to provide public and government decision-makers with visibility of the nature, level and extent of foreign influence on Australia's government and political process. The moratorium for pre-existing arrangements ended last month.

The scheme introduces registration obligations for persons and entities who have arrangements with, and undertake certain activities on behalf of, foreign principals. Whether a person or entity is required to register depends on who the foreign principal is, the nature of the activities undertaken, the purpose for which the activities are undertaken, and in some cases, whether the person has held a senior public position in Australia.

ACBC in partnership with MinterEllison has held information sessions across Australia discussing the new legislation and related issues.

ACBC has also recorded a podcast with Lucinda Atkinson, Assistant Secretary from the Federal Attorney General’s Department, where she discusses what a foreign principal is, what activities require registration under the Act and how to determine whether someone is acting ‘on behalf or in accordance of the wishes’ of a foreign principal. We look at case studies for ministers of parliament, investors, universities, media organisations and industry groups. We also discuss the process of registration, non-compliance and the future of the Act.

To listen to the podcast visit

To find out more about the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act visit here

To check out the FITS Registry visit here


Please be aware that this summary of the Act is only general advice, and it is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation.



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