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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4399

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:48): That was very disappointing and quite serious. We've had all these amendments coming through and we're still trying to understand them. There were changes, from what I understand, with regard to foreign companies. The scope of the original legislation included foreign governments, foreign related entities, foreign government directed individuals, foreign political organisations and foreign companies. I understand that foreign companies have now been excluded. Is that correct, Minister?

Senator Seselja: Sorry, I'll take a point of order on this. This is not the bill we're dealing with right now. This is the other bill.

Senator RHIANNON: I apologise. I do have some questions following on from proposed section 91.1, which you answered some questions about before with regard to journalists. I'll go back to those. I do think we need to discuss this in greater depth because this is the section where the penalty is imprisonment for life. We have some really serious criminal penalties here and also, let's be frank about it, this is one of the sections that have come under considerable criticism from a range of organisations—the media, universities, religious organisations and legal groups. Certainly we've been asked about it many times. I feel I need to bring those questions here because it's where there is the most serious criminal penalty.

You talk about prejudice. I'd like you to explain how the word 'prejudice' is used. It's set out that it's not embarrassment alone; it goes further than that. I think it's about where there is an advantage to the foreign powers. Could you explain in more detail the meaning of that word, because it obviously has great significance with regard to how national security measures are being judged in this legislation?