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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9925


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (20:44): Senator Xenophon, thank you for your complimentary remarks, but I cannot let you get away with raising a false issue. This is a bill about terrorism. It is a bill about terrorism to protect Australians and to keep us safe. I would counsel against parsing submissions made in proceedings—quite complex proceedings. Plainly, what the Solicitor-General was saying by the use of the word 'would' was that, in the event that certain conduct were established—to the criminal standard of proof, by the way; that is proof beyond reasonable doubt—before a court, and if that conduct answered the definition of espionage in Commonwealth criminal law, then a person who engaged in that conduct, and was shown to the criminal standard of proof to have done so, would be guilty of that conduct. That is a completely commonplace proposition: if a provision of the criminal law defines the elements of a criminal offence, and if a person is shown to the criminal standard of proof in a prosecution to have engaged in that offence, then they would be convicted of that offence unless they could demonstrate a legally available defence. That is nothing more than a very, very simple illustration of the way criminal law operates.