Thursday, 28 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018, Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018; In Committee
I think we are dealing primarily with the next bill, so I'm happy to come back to that. If I heard you correctly, you're now talking about someone who's maybe outside of the parliament, so it might be an official within a political party—I should go back. There is nothing which affects parliamentary privilege in one way or another in this legislation; I'll be clear on that. I'm not going to give advice on how parliamentary privilege would apply; that's a matter for another day and for others to answer. This bill does not affect parliamentary privilege in one way or another, so it would stand on its merits.
In terms of the specific example you're speaking about, where a foreign principal is perhaps trying to influence a party official, the elements as set out in the legislation would all need to apply—that is, the party official probably would be engaging in conduct on behalf of or in collaboration with the foreign principal; the conduct is directed, funded or supervised et cetera; the person intends that the conduct will influence the political processes of the Commonwealth or a state or territory; and any part of the conduct is covert or deceptive. You have to have all of those elements for this legislation and these provisions that we've been discussing to be potentially engaged.