Thursday, 28 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018; In Committee
Because we're setting up a series of new offences, in many ways, instead of giving more power to the intelligence agencies, it would push things into the criminal realm—to the Australian Federal Police to investigate potential crimes that may have been committed under this legislation if it's passed, and, obviously, to the courts, who would need to determine whether an offence has been committed. If we were to look from the perspective of law enforcement generally, police powers are one thing—the ability to detain people, the ability to restrain people, the ability to use force—and that sits in one box. The actual criminal offences of the criminals they're seeking to apprehend and deter sit separately. In that context, this is about the criminal law as it applies to certain types of offences. It doesn't give the intelligence agencies any more or different powers, but obviously it is designed to make sure that, where there are potential offences and attempts to undermine our national security, there are proper penalties for that.