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Statement on proposed laws under Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong

International relations

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has published a consultation paper on proposed national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong and sought views.

Australia is concerned the proposed Article 23 legislation will further the erosion of rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration which has occurred since the imposition of the National Security Law. The effective and just administration of national security laws requires robust checks and balances and clarity around definitions. We are also concerned by potential efforts to curtail the rights and freedoms of people outside of Hong Kong, including those living in Australia. We have made our concerns known to Hong Kong authorities and we will continue to do so.

Australia calls on Hong Kong authorities to ensure any laws made under Article 23, and the implementation of such laws, fully comply with China's international human rights commitments, respect freedom of speech and guarantee the full independence of the judiciary through Hong Kong's common law system.

Further, Australia calls on Hong Kong authorities to undertake genuine consultation on the proposed laws, including by publishing draft legislation. We ask that Hong Kong authorities give due consideration to the implications for Hong Kong's future as an international financial centre and place to do business.

Australia has deep historical connections to Hong Kong, built on strong trade and investment ties and long-standing personal and cultural bonds. Australia has a stake in Hong Kong's future: it is home to one of our largest overseas business and expatriate communities.

We look to Hong Kong authorities to uphold those elements which have been so crucial to Hong Kong's success, including its high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration.

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