THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has extended its public consultation period for its review of two important bills targeting espionage and foreign interference:
- the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017, which amends existing criminal laws for secrecy and espionage offences, and introduces new foreign interference and sabotage offences, and
- the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017, which establishes a scheme that requires registration by persons who undertake certain activities within Australia on behalf of foreign interests.
The Chair of the Committee, Andrew Hastie MP, said, “The Committee’s public hearings held this past week have demonstrated the necessity of the two Bills, however, a short extension has been granted to give members of the public the continuing opportunity to comment on the proposals.
“The Committee has elected to extend the period for public consultation on the two Bills and will reschedule its reporting date to facilitate this. The Committee seeks additional submissions by Thursday 15 February 2018”.
To facilitate extended consultation, the Committee will now report on both bills by 23 March 2018.
Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.