Summary

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick calling for greater parliamentary oversight of Australia's national security and intelligence services.

Senator Patrick explained that:

These amendments will amend the Intelligence Services Act 2001 to extend parliamentary scrutiny to the operation of Australia's national security and intelligence agencies. ... Centre Alliance considers it imperative to improve parliamentary oversight of Australia's intelligence agencies as they face greater challenges and are given more resources and powers to intrude into the lives of Australian citizens. Australia's 10 national security and intelligence agencies employ more than 7,000 people and spend well over $2 billion per annum while they accumulate massive amounts of data at home and abroad. As the intelligence agencies have expanded, the mechanisms of accountability and review have received much less attention and fewer resources.

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

On 18 July 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would establish a Home Affairs portfolio that will bring together Australia’s immigration, border protection, law enforcement and domestic security agencies in a single portfolio. Australian governments had previously considered but rejected the establishment of something similar to the US Department of Homeland Security or the UK Home Office on several occasions since the early 2000s. The new portfolio will be ‘modelled loosely’ on the UK’s arrangements, comprising a central department responsible for policy and strategic planning and several agencies that will retain their statutory independence.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives Absent
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Andrew Bartlett Queensland Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Australian Labor Party (48% turnout) 0 Yes 12 No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Kristina Keneally NSW No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Kimberley Kitching Victoria No
Gavin Marshall Victoria No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Louise Pratt WA No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Doug Cameron NSW Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Katy Gallagher ACT Absent
Helen Polley Tasmania Absent
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Absent
Murray Watt Queensland Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Centre Alliance (0.0% turnout) Absent
Stirling Griff SA Absent
Rex Patrick SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President Absent
Tim Storer SA Independent Yes
Fraser Anning Queensland Independent No
Lucy Gichuhi SA Independent No
Steve Martin Tasmania Independent No
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (0.0% turnout) Absent
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
James McGrath Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (59% turnout) 0 Yes 13 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Slade Brockman WA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Jim Molan NSW No
James Paterson Victoria No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Dean Smith WA No
Amanda Stoker Queensland No
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (67% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Absent
Nick Xenophon Team (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Stirling Griff SA Yes
Rex Patrick SA Yes
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (67% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Brian Burston NSW No
Peter Georgiou WA No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President Absent
Totals (61% turnout) 13 Yes – 33 No