They say the new legislation is a threat to Hong Kong's civil liberties and status International pressure on the Hong Kong government to water down the proposed national security law continues to grow after Australia and New Zealand yesterday called for further amendments to ease public concern. The two countries issued separate statements warning that Hong Kong's freedoms would be undermined by the anti-subversion legislation. They join the United States, the European Union, Canada and Britain, which have called for safeguards to ensure that the law would not undermine the 'one country, two systems' principle of Hong Kong's governance. There was no immediate reaction from either the Hong Kong or central governments, but previous remarks by other countries have been dismissed by the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, which maintains that the matter is an internal affair. In a statement, the Australian government said it was concerned about the proposed power to ban affiliates of groups banned on the mainland. '[It] has the potential to weaken civil liberties, the independence of the Hong Kong legal system and the commitment to 'one country, two systems', all of which have been vital to Hong Kong's continued success,'' said Christine Gallus, assistant minister to Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. She urged the Hong Kong government to make every effort to ensure that civil liberties were not affected by the proposed law. 'We encourage it to consider further amendments,' the statement said. New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff said he was concerned that there was no public interest defence for journalists reporting state secrets. There were also fears for the Falun Gong in Hong Kong, he said.