Thursday, 28 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018; In Committee
This morning, Senator McKim was asking some questions about activists working on international issues. I want to put to you a specific type of scenario, which I'm aware actually occurs in Australia. Say an Australian company had caused environmental damage in another country and that had affected not only the environment but people's capacity to earn their living as they used to. There's no recompense for those people, and they're seeking recompense. They're working with Australian not-for-profit organisations. The organisations in the other country are working with their own government, and the Australian organisations are working with those environmental organisations with, in fact, a foreign government, to either seek recompense from the Australian government or encourage the Australian government to take action. I'm aware that this happens. Will they get caught up in this legislation? The way I read the definition of 'foreign government principals', it would involve interaction with a foreign government. There is the potential that political or economic relations with that country may be damaged as a result of the activism. How would this scenario be handled when people from Australia are talking to foreign governments about specific remedies for this particular situation?