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PRC state-owned enterprises have engaged law firms operating in Australia to advise on their expanding ownership of Australia's critical infrastructure and critical minerals. These legal engagements do not attract the transparency obligations that any other activities representing a foreign principal in Australia would necessitate. Law firms operating in Australia acting for PRC entities simultaneously fulfil engagements for Australian Government entities, including those responsible for national security and foreign policy. Law firms operating in Australia have formed combined operations with PRC firms, exposing them to PRC intelligence laws. Some are advising PRC state-owned enterprises from within PRC on initiatives consistent with Chinese Communist Party objectives that are designed to advance PRC strategic and economic interests internationally. Australia’s foreign interference and transparency laws do not capture legal advice or representation, posing risk that foreign principals can engage legitimate legal services to facilitate outcomes without transparency that are prejudicial to Australia’s national security interests.

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