Summary

Edit

The majority supported increasing the penalty for unauthorised disclosure of intelligence related information from a maximum of two years to ten years imprisonment. This means they disagreed with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's amendment that it should be opposed (see his explanation).

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. In particular, it extends the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

Senator Ludlam was particularly concerned about the new offences that apply to any person who discloses information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO), with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Two concerns with these offences are that:

  • they don't have exceptions for public interest disclosures or whistleblowing by ASIO employees, and
  • they apply to any person, including journalists.

Read more about these offences in the bills digest.

Background to the bill

After the major counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the balance between freedom and security had to shift (see ABC News). This bill is part of that change.

The bill also seems to be a response to American Edward Snowden leaking classified American intelligence information last year.

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (90% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Absent
Australian Labor Party (63% turnout) 0 Yes 15 No
Joe Bullock WA No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Sue Lines WA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Penny Wong SA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Sam Dastyari NSW Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Kate Lundy ACT Absent
Nova Peris NT Absent
Lisa Singh Tasmania Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party No
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President No
Bob Day SA Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
John Madigan Victoria Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (52% turnout) 0 Yes 13 No
Christopher Back WA No
George Brandis Queensland No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Sean Edwards SA No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Cory Bernardi SA Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Brett Mason Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania No
Glenn Lazarus Queensland No
Dio Wang WA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President No
Totals (71% turnout) 10 Yes – 44 No