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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4277

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital TerritoryAssistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation) (10:33): The short answer is no, and I'll just go through why. All of the sabotage offences need to be read together. The sabotage offences can only be committed where a person damages public infrastructure and intends for their conduct—or is reckless as to whether it does—to prejudice Australia's national security or to advantage the national security of a foreign country. There are a number of reasons why these offences wouldn't apply in that particular scenario.

'Public infrastructure' is a defined term set out in section 82.2 of the bill. This definition is unchanged since December, when it was first introduced. It includes Commonwealth facilities, premises and systems, defence premises, telecommunications networks and infrastructure that provides utilities or services to the public, such as the electricity or water grids. But I want to deal briefly and specifically with your line of questioning about the lawful versus the unlawful and whether or not that would, in and of itself, attract the sabotage offences. Obviously the government does not and would not condone behaviour that breaks state and territory laws in the context of protest. However, the fact that those laws may have been broken would not be enough to constitute a sabotage offence under sections 82.5 or 82.6. As stated earlier, these offences require a person to intend to, or to be, reckless as to whether they'll prejudice Australia's national security or advantage the national security of a foreign country. Simply breaking state and territory laws wouldn't be sufficient to satisfy that element.