Military-style training involving a foreign government principal is an offence under section 83.3 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:
- You provided, received or participated in training
- The training involved using arms or practising military exercises, movements or evolutions, and
- The training was provided on behalf of a foreign government principal or a foreign political organisation, or was directed, funded or supervised by a foreign government principal, or a foreign political organisation, or by a person acting on behalf of a foreign government principal or a foreign political organisation.
A ‘foreign government principal’ includes:
- The government of a foreign country or part thereof
- An authority of a foreign government or part thereof
- A foreign local government body or foreign regional government body, or
- A company to which any of the above applies.
A ‘foreign political organisation’ includes:
- A foreign political party
- A foreign organisation that exists primarily to pursue political objectives, or
- A foreign organisation that exists to pursue militant, extremist or revolutionary objectives.
You are not guilty of the offence if your conduct:
- Was authorised under a written agreement involving the Commonwealth
- Was solely in the course of, and part of, service in the armed forces of a foreign country and you were not in, and your conduct was not funded by, a terrorist organisation
- Was solely or primarily for humanitarian purposes, or
- Was part of performing an official duty for the UN or Red Cross.
Proceedings for the offence cannot be commenced without the Attorney-General’s consent.
Other defences to the charge include self-defence and duress.