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Threat of criminal prosecution for charities still looms despite Committee report

In response to today’s release of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s report into the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, Claire O’Rourke, Director of External Affairs at Amnesty International Australia has expressed grave concern around the Labor Party’s support for the Government’s dangerous lurch towards authoritarianism.

“Under this Bill charities, including Amnesty, who hold the Australian Government to account on its human rights record could face criminal charges – this is not only outrageous, it’s downright terrifying.”

“Under this Bill charities, including Amnesty, who hold the Australian Government to account on its human rights record could face criminal charges – this is not only outrageous, it’s downright terrifying.”

“This is clear Government overreach, and a cynical exercise by both sides of politics to shield themselves from the scrutiny of Australian civil society, including charities.

“In their haste to appear tough on national security, both parties have trampled all over our right to freedom of expression.

“In addition to the Committee’s recommendations released today, the Bill must be further amended to provide robust exemptions for civil society, so we can continue to hold the government of the day accountable without fear of prosecution or imprisonment.”

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Amnesty International