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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4287

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) (11:23): I have a question that sort of relates to what Senator Leyonhjelm was talking about, in terms of some scenarios. I apologise if this is dealt with in the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill. The two are very closely related, and I'll take your advice on that. I present a scenario that seeks to draw out an understanding of where the boundary exists between parliamentary privilege and the operation of the act. I'm aware that nothing in the bill seeks to affect privilege, but let me provide you with a scenario. Let's say that a foreign entity talks to a member of a political party in this place and says to them, 'Could you help me convince your party at its annual conference to take a position on a piece of legislation?' and perhaps offers some money for that to occur. Is that considered by the government to be something where the politician would be subject to the provisions in this bill? I note that there are recommendations to deal with how privilege might be managed, and that may be a matter for the House, but the question is: where is the line drawn?

That's not a direct influence into this place but a direct influence to a party who may then vote in a particular way on the basis of a representation that took place at a party conference.