Toowoomba, Australia, Jan 30, 2018 / 16:23 pm
An anti-foreign influence bill being considered by the Australian government could end up silencing the Catholic Church in the country, a local bishop warned this week.
“The Church is a strong supporter of transparency when there is advocacy on behalf of a foreign government, but this legislation risks silencing our voice on behalf of the young and the old, the poor and the marginalized,” said Bishop Robert McGuckin of Toowoomba, according to the Australian.
Bishop McGuckin spoke ahead of the Jan. 30 parliamentary hearing, where a joint committee on intelligence and security discussed the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill.
Introduced on Dec. 7, 2017, the legislation would require those acting on behalf of a foreign power to register their status. It would also strengthen penalties for treason, espionage, and secret-sharing.