Senate debates

Thursday, 28 June 2018


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

11:40 am

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation) Share this | Hansard source

No, I'm sorry, that's not what I said. What I said was that the circumstances you've described don't fit under 90.2, the definition of 'foreign principal'. You're talking about another hypothetical scenario where, perhaps, a foreign government principal was the foreign organisation which was working with the Australian group. I'm not saying that the legislation would apply, I'm saying that if they were dealing with that foreign principal in order for the legislation to apply, then there's a number of offence elements—as set out, for instance, in 92.2, the offence of international foreign interference—which would all have to be engaged in order for someone to be committing an offence, potentially, under the legislation.

Simply talking to a foreign principal or simply advocating on issues that they happen to share their view on would not, in and of itself, go anywhere near engaging those offence elements. What I was trying to say to you was that the circumstance that you've defined there doesn't even reach the first hurdle of the definition of foreign principal. If they do fit under the definition of foreign principal, then there are extensive elements to a potential offence that would all have to be satisfied—in terms of the action being covert and the like in order to influence processes et cetera—in order for there to be an offence, potentially, under this legislation.


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