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Interfering With Political Rights and Duties

Interfering with political rights and duties is an offence under section 83.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

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

  1. You engaged in conduct involving the use of force, violence, intimidation or threats
  2. Your conduct resulted in interference with the exercise or performance of an Australian democratic or political right or duty
  3. The person who’s right or duty was interfered with was in Australia, and
  4. The right or duty arose under the constitution or a law of the Commonwealth.

You are not guilty if you acted in ‘good faith’, which includes:

  1. Trying to show that the sovereign, governor-general, state governor, territory administrator or their advisers were mistaken in their ‘counsels, policies or actions’
  2. Pointing out errors or defects in government, the constitution, legislation, or the administration of justice to correct them, or
  3. Attempting to lawfully make a change to a policy, practice or law.

The onus is on you to establish that defence ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

Proceedings for the offence cannot be commenced without the Attorney-General’s consent.

Defences to the charge include duress and self-defence.

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