Proposed amendments to the 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 (the Committee) review of the EFI Bill.
The Attorney-General provided the Committee with a range of proposed amendments to the EFI Bill. In summary, the amendments:
- create separate secrecy offences that apply to non-Commonwealth officers and are narrower in scope than those applying to Commonwealth officers;
- narrow the definitions of ‘inherently harmful information’ and ‘causes harm to Australia's interests’, which form part of the proposed secrecy offences applying to Commonwealth officers;
- strengthen the defence for journalists at proposed section 122.5(6);
- limit the definition of ‘security classification’ to secret and top secret, and remove strict liability for a number of offences;
- limit the proposed espionage offence at section 91.3 to security classified information that is dealt with for the primary purpose of making it available to a foreign principal.
There are 39 amendments in total. This submission makes the following comments on the amendments of substance.
You can read the full submission below.