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Tell Labor: Don't trade away our democratic rights!

Thank you for taking the time to call you Labor MP or Senator about this attack on our democratic rights! We've just 24 hours to make our voices count in the battle to protect press freedom, whistleblowers, and our civil liberties.
Calls from constituents are taken very seriously by political staffers - even a small handful of calls on one subject will sound the alarm in Canberra today.

What to expect

Here are some helpful hints on how your call might go, and how you can have a big impact.

  • Ring ring - A staffer will answer the phone. If you don't get through straight away, wait a moment and then try again. Once you've got them, introduce yourself by name and tell them where you live.

  • Explain the reason for your call - Tell the staffer you're deeply concerned about these laws. The full name of the legislation is the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill but you can just call it the Espionage Bill. If you want to go into more detail about what's wring with the bill, there are comprehensive talking points at the bottom of this page. If the staffer trys to reasure you by saying Labor has already put up 60 amendments, you should tell them those amendments are woefully inadequate.

  • Tell them you want your MP or Senator to delay the lawsuntil there has been sufficient time for proper analysis and scrutiny. Tell them your concerns with the Labor Party supporting such dangerous legislation when the final version has yet to be made public.

  • Ask for a commitment - Ask the staffer if your MP or senator will commit to speaking up in the Labor partyroom tomorrow morning against the Espionage Bill. They may or may not commit, but this will send a clear message that you're serious about holding them to account.

  • Say thanks! - Thank them for taking the time to listen to you, and ask them to please pass your message onto the MP or Senator.
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.

CALL YOUR MP OR SENATOR NOW!

Placing a call is easy, and can be as quick or as long as you like.

Just a few minutes of your time today could help stop these dangerous laws.

If you do call, please make sure to hit the "I called" button below, so we can keep track of how many call are being made.


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