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Foreign donations security threat: Wilkie

AAP logoAAP 8/09/2016 Andrew Drummond

Federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie wants to outlaw foreign political donations, labelling some payments as a threat to national security.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari's resignation from shadow cabinet after admitting he was wrong to accept a $1600 Chinese payment has prompted the Hobart-based politician to act.

"It goes to our very national security, our economic security, perhaps even our physical security when foreign governments in particular are exerting a direct influence on our policies and our foreign policy," Mr Wilkie told reporters on Thursday.

"And there is no better example of that than what we think has happened with Senator Dastyari where someone who has enjoyed great largesse from foreign interests has taken such a strong public position in support of another country's policy."

Mr Wilkie referred to Senator Dastyari's support of Chinese militarisation of islands in the South China Sea, a position he said is in contrast to that of the Labor party and at odds with the national interest.

At the first available opportunity Mr Wilkie said he will introduce a private member's bill banning all donations of more than $1000 from non-Australian entities.

"It would restrict donations to parties and politicians and candidates to people who are normally resident in Australia and to businesses who are substantially Australian-owned," he told reporters on Thursday.

"When any donor hands over $100,000 or $200,000 you can't tell me they're doing that just because they're a nice person or a nice company - they want a return on their investment."

There is scope for greater reform of political donations but this "bite-sized" change is a quick and simple solution which could be dealt with next week, Mr Wilkie said.

"The Labor and Liberal parties enjoy millions of dollars of donations from individuals who are not normally resident in this country and from business entities that are substantially foreign-owned.

They're all trying to say the right things and keep the public happy while not actually doing anything."

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