Australian wants foreign interference laws in place in June

Australia's attorney-general has urged Parliament to pass anti-foreign interference laws this month ahead of five by-elections scheduled for late July.

The legislation would ban covert foreign interference in politics and expand espionage offenses. Australia sees the legislation as the cause of current strains in its diplomatic relationship with China.

Attorney-General Christian Porter on Friday cited secret service evidence that the threat of foreign interference in Australian politics and commerce was constantly evolving and becoming more acute.

He noted the legislation would for the first time make it illegal for a foreign government to intentionally or recklessly interfere with a democratic or government process, including an election.

Australia will hold five by-elections on July 28, and likely hold general elections in early 2019.