The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time.

This means that the majority of senators want to pass the bill, which was introduced to clarify that a non-citizen without any lawful right to enter Australia under domestic law has no lawful right to come to Australia. The bill applies this clarification retrospectively to 16 December 1999.(The retrospective application of this bill raises issues relating to the rule of law. In Australia, there is a general prohibition on retrospective criminal laws. Read more about whether the retrospective application of this bill is against the rule of law on the Human Rights Law Centre and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. )

Since the bill was previously passed in the House of Representatives,(The bill was passed through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and without formal division. Read more about the bill's passage through the House of Representatives here. ) it will now become law.

Background to the bill

The bill's introduction into parliament coincided with the Payara case, which concerns an Indonesian man charged with aggravated people smuggling.(Read more about the case here. For more, see the SkepticLawyer. ) Paraya pleaded 'not guilty' and argued that asylum-seekers had a right under international and Australian law to come to Australia and seek asylum without a visa. This test case was originally to be heard in the Victorian Court of Appeal on 3 November 2011 but Paraya's solicitor said that it will have to be abandoned if the Senate agrees to pass the bill,(Read more about the response of lawyers to the bill here. ) which has now occurred with this division.

Read more about the bill on its bills digest.(The bill's explanatory memoranda are available here.)


Votes Passed by a large majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Bob Brown Tasmania No
Richard Di Natale Victoria No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Scott Ludlam WA No
Christine Milne Tasmania No
Lee Rhiannon NSW No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Penny Wright SA No
Australian Labor Party (80% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
Chris Evans WA Yes
John Faulkner NSW Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Joe Ludwig Queensland Yes
Kate Lundy ACT Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Nick Sherry Tasmania Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
Ursula Stephens NSW Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Mark Arbib NSW Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President Absent
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (81% turnout) 22 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Judith Adams WA Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Sue Boyce Queensland Yes
George Brandis Queensland Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
Alan Eggleston WA Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Mary Fisher SA Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Helen Kroger Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Brett Mason Queensland Yes
Marise Payne NSW Yes
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Gary Humphries ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Ron Boswell Queensland Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (82% turnout) 53 Yes – 9 No