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This whistleblower has a warning for us

Andrew Wilkie – whistleblower turned MP – is sounding the alarm over draconian legislation that's about to become law...
There are two parts Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill that threaten GetUp's campaiging, along with press freedom, whistleblower protections and civil liberties:

1. Radical changes to Espionage laws: Investigating or reporting on a subject that could damage Australia's international reputation or harm its economic relations could attract a prison sentence of between 20 years and life. This would include exposing cases where Australia has breached international law. These are the changes that would threaten journalist and whistleblowers.

2. Radical changes to Sabotage laws: 'Damaging' government or business property with an intention to harm Australia's international reputation or economic interests could attract a prison sentence of up to 25 years. However, under the bill, 'damage' includes limiting access to property by people who ordinarily have access. In other words, 'sabotage' could now include peacefully blockading a road to prevent the export of coal or uranium to another country. It could also include peacefully protesting Australia's involvement in an international war.

The bill also changes the legal definition of national security to include country's political and economic relations with another country, and that country's foreign influence.

The only protection is the Attorney General's 'discretion' on whether or not to authorise prosecution. This means the government of the day has the power to use these laws to attack their political opponants. If you want to read more about the impacts the laws will have our our democracy check out these fantastic op-eds from civil society leaders.

You can also read the original version of the legislation and a Parliamentary committee's recommendations here
These laws would directly impact the GetUp movement's ability to make change on most issues that have an international dimension including climate change, refugees, and Trade deals such as the TPP.

Furthermore, the GetUp community relies heavily on the crucial work of investigative journalists and whistleblowers. If transparency and accountability is reduced, our ability to campaign will suffer.
Any protest that blocks access to buildings run by the Commonwealth or a business. For instance, a protest in an MPs' office, where that protest is intended to bring international attention to a significant criticism of Australia, will be a criminal offence. Or, a protest regarding Australia's conduct during a war, if it blocked access to shops, could qualify as "sabotage" for prejudicing Australia's national security.


We need to make sure people know about this – before it's too late

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