Skip to main content
GetUp!
GetUp!

Support our Civil Defence

To stop the Turnbull Government's new police state laws hurting our campaigns, we'll need continuous legal advice.

If we can gather enough ongoing support, we're also going prepare for a potential constitutional challenge – that could see these laws struck down in High Court.

Can you join the GetUp Crew by making a regular weekly donation to our Civil Defence Fund?
In order to take on the power of a government hell bent on suppressing truth and dissent we need a fresh new tide of members to join our GetUp Crew, who make a weekly contribution to support our work.

Can you make a weekly contribution today?
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
Witness K is a former intelligence officer who blew the whistle on the Howard Government's illegal spying on East Timor's treaty negotiations.

This illegal spying gave Australia a massive advantage in ongoing negotiations over petroleum resources in the Timor Sea.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time – Alexander Downer – went on to take a lucrative position at a corporation that also benefited greatly from those negotiations.

Witness K and their lawyer, Bernard Collaery, have just been charged in a case that will have massive ramifications for free speech and government accountability in Australia.
The explosive revelations about Witness K came within 24 hours of the Turnbull Government – with the support of Labor – passing new police state laws threatening journalists, whistleblowers and fellow activists with heavy prison sentences.

The only protection these new laws offer activists, journalists and protestersus is the Attorney General's 'discretion' to not consent to a on whether or not to approve prosecution. Porter's decision to prosecute Witness K is no coincidence – it's an act of intimidation against all of us who hold the government to account.