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Intentional Foreign Interference by Influencing a Targeted Person

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Intentional foreign interference by influencing a targeted person is an offence under section 92.2(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You engaged in conduct
  2. Your conduct was on behalf of, or in collaboration with, a foreign principal, or a person acting on behalf of a foreign principal, or was directed, funded or supervised by a foreign principal, or a person acting on a foreign principal’s behalf
  3. You intended by your conduct to influence another person (‘the target’):
    (a) In relation to a political or governmental process of the Commonwealth, or of a state or territory within the Commonwealth, or
    (b) In the target’s exercise of any Australian democratic or political right or duty, whether in Australia or overseas, and
  1. You concealed from, or failed to disclose to, the target that your conduct was on behalf of, or in collaboration with, a foreign principal, or a person acting for a foreign principal, or was directed, funded or supervised by a foreign principal or a person acting on a foreign principal’s behalf.

A ‘foreign principal’ is defined as:

  1. A foreign government principal
  2. A foreign political organisation
  3. A public international organisation
  4. A terrorist organisation, or
  5. An entity or organisation owned, directed or controlled by a foreign principal/s.

You are not guilty if you establish, ‘on the balance of probabilities’, that your conduct was:

  1. In accordance with a law of the Commonwealth
  2. In accordance with an arrangement or agreement to which the Commonwealth was party, or
  3. In your capacity as a public official.

The Attorney-General’s consent is required for a prosecution to be commenced under the section

And the hearing may occur ‘in camera’ (in secret) if the court believes this is in the interests of national security

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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