Thursday, 28 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018, Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018; In Committee
Again, Senator, I understand the challenge, but it does take a stepping through of all the elements of the offence. So, starting with (1)(a), the person commits the offence if the person engages in conduct. Then, if any of those circumstances exist—that is, acting in collaboration with or on behalf of the foreign principal and, then, intending that conduct to influence the various processes set out in (c)—that conduct, going back to (a), is covert or involves deception. Simply communicating via an encrypted messaging service such as WhatsApp does not engage the covertness element when it comes to engaging in conduct and the other elements that make up the offence.