Opening Statement to Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security addressing espionage and foreign interference
30 January 2018
Morry Bailes, President, Law Council of Australia
The Law Council welcomes this inquiry and recognises the difficult challenges posed by Australia’s security environment in relation to the threat of espionage and foreign interference. We therefore support in-principle measures to ensure that Australia’s laws are sufficiently robust to guard against the undermining of Australia’s sovereignty and maintain the integrity of its political processes in light of foreign interference.
We also recognise that the law in relation to these areas requires review and updating, and that concerns regarding undisclosed foreign interference of government policy and public opinion need to be addressed.
The Law Council’s focus on the specific provisions of the two Bills is to ensure that the proposed changes are necessary and proportionate. To this end, the Law Council has raised several suggestions aimed at the improvement of the laws for this Committee’s consideration. The matters raised in our written submissions should be addressed prior to enactment.
Read full statement below.