Senate debates

Thursday, 28 June 2018


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

11:06 am

Photo of David LeyonhjelmDavid Leyonhjelm (NSW, Liberal Democratic Party) Share this | Hansard source

Perhaps it would be easier if I elaborated on it by means of an example. Assume, for the moment, that I am not exempt from this legislation. I'm not sure, actually; I may be confused between the two, being a senator. But, anyway, let's assume I am not subject to this legislation—or even let's assume that I am not a senator—and I am advocating, on behalf of Israel, that Australia's aid should no longer fund Hamas in the Palestinian Territories, and that I am advocating that Australia should cease that kind of funding. So I'm seeking to influence a political process. I'm working in collaboration with a representative of the Israeli government, because they have a common interest in that issue. I may be coordinating with them to ensure that I don't say anything which conflicts with what they're doing. I may be coordinating with them to ensure that the timing of my activities is complementary to anything they might do. And I may be communicating with the representatives of the Israeli government via means of WhatsApp, or telegram, or some other, encrypted, mechanism—which I would've thought would come within the definition of 'covert'. It would seem to me that all of that would add up to meeting the elements of the offence under section 92.2, for which there is, potentially, a 20-year jail sentence. Perhaps you'd like to address that example.


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