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Additional submission on National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 (EFI Bill)

The Law Council has provided an additional written submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s review of the EFI Bill following the Law Council’s second appearance before the Committee on 16 March 2018.

The proposed espionage, sabotage and foreign interference offences in the EFI Bill are underpinned by a broad concept of ‘national security’ which includes political or economic relations with a foreign country.

The Law Council has raised concern with the breadth of this definition in its initial written submission to the Committee dated 22 January 2018 and in its supplementary submission dated 13 March 2018. During the Law Council’s second appearance before the Committee, Senator Fawcett referred to the fact that the proposed definition of ‘national security’ is consistent with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Report 98, Keeping secrets: the protection of classified and security sensitive information, tabled in June 2004.

The difficulty is that this definition is based on a recommendation made by the ALRC, not in the context of espionage, sabotage and foreign interference offences, but in relation to recommendations regarding a National Security Information Procedures Act and, subsequently, secrecy offences.

You can read the full submission below.

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