Senate debates

Thursday, 28 June 2018


National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018, Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018; In Committee

10:46 am

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

We'll come to the second bar in a minute. By the way, I do accept that these elements would be considered together by courts if this hypothetical situation ever got to the courts—and I hope it doesn't but I suspect that it will at some stage in the future. I'll give a philosophical underpinning to my concerns here. A close reading of human history shows that, if parliaments create a particular power, power-hungry, desperate governments—including in Western democracies—have a track record of using those powers to the fullest extent to quash people taking action to hold governments to account. Your government has been guilty of this overreach on many, many occasions. If you want, I'll give you an ad hoc chapter and verse on that. In order to try to save us time, the philosophical underpinning of my expression of concern on behalf of the Greens here is that governments have a track record of utilising every last bit of power that parliaments make available to them if they feel politically threatened by the actions of a citizen or a particular group of citizens.

Having placed that on the record, and having said that I accept that a court would need to consider the fault elements together, I still want to take you to the first bar, which is the requirement that a person would have to have an awareness that there was a substantial risk that their action might—it's not 'impact', Minister, I'm sorry; the word you used was—


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