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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7220


Senator LAZARUS (QueenslandLeader of the Palmer United Party in the Senate) (19:00): by leave—I move Palmer United Party amendments (3) and (4) on sheet 7564 together:

(3) Schedule 6, page 85 (after line 27), after item 5, insert:

5A Subsections 92(1) and (1A) (penalty)

   Repeal the penalty, substitute:

Penalty:   Imprisonment for 10 years.

(4) Schedule 6, page 103 (after line 29), after item 19, insert:

19A Subsection 41(1) (penalty)

   Repeal the penalty, substitute:

Penalty:   Imprisonment for 10 years.

As I already indicated, the Palmer United Party supports the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014. We support the need to increase intelligence powers in this country. We need to give ASIO and ASIS the powers they need to do their job well.

The bill will increase various powers—including powers in relation to intelligence gathering and intelligence operations—and their reach. Advances in technology and communications necessitate this. The internet, while a tool which has revolutionised the way we live, work and operate, has also revolutionised the way sinister and criminal behaviour is orchestrated and undertaken across the world. The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence because of this. Therefore we must give ASIO and ASIS increased powers, capability and reach to do what must be done to protect, maintain and advance our safety and security. The people involved in protecting our country put their lives at risk every day. We must ensure that we afford these people the highest level of protection. These people are involved in covert operations which require the highest levels of secrecy, discretion and anonymity.

My amendments increase the penalty associated with exposing the identity of an ASIO or ASIS officer from one year to 10 years. Exposure of an ASIO or ASIS officer's identity puts the officer's life and livelihood at risk and it puts the security and safety of our country at risk. Exposure of an ASIO or ASIS officer's identity is therefore a form of treason. Treason is a serious matter. It is a direct breach of a person's allegiance to this country. It is a breach which compromises our national security. It is an act which harms the interests of our country. This is not an act which should be taken lightly. If anything, in the context of what we have seen happen in our country recently, we need to harden our stance on the need for our people to demonstrate their undivided loyalty to our country, our laws and our Constitution.

While my amendments increase the penalty for exposure of an ASIO or ASIS officer's identity from one year's jail, which is what you would expect for a small offence, to 10 years jail, which is the sort of penalty that should be applied in the case of a serious crime, a prosecution under the division may be instituted only by, or with the consent of, the Attorney-General or a person acting under the Attorney-General's direction. The Attorney-General still has the capability to manage the way Australia responds to acts of treason. If charged under this division, the matter will be dealt with in the judicial system, where every person is given a fair, just and exhaustive hearing. Exposure of an ASIO or ASIS officer's identity is a form of treason and should carry the potential for a harsh penalty. I therefore commend my amendments to the chamber.