The majority voted in favour of a motion to pass the bill in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read it for a third time. Since the bill has already passed in the House of Representatives, it will now become law.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The purpose of the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures Bill 2023 (the Bill) is to amend Commonwealth legislation relating to national security and intelligence. Specifically, the Bill seeks to:

  • implement ten recommendations from the 2019 Comprehensive review of the legal framework of the national intelligence community (the Richardson Review)

  • make changes to the composition of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS)

  • clarify the level of detail required in a Ministerial direction to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) under the Intelligence Services Act 2001.

More specifically, the bills digest summarises that the bill:

  • Removes the ability of the Attorney-General to delegate powers under the ASIO Act (except financial assistance powers). Limits the ability of the Executive to confer the Attorney-General’s powers with respect to ASIO on another Minister.
  • Provides new defences for ASIO relating to interference with facilities, unauthorised modification of data and impairment of electronic communication.
  • Increases the membership of PJCIS from 11 to 13 and specifies the composition of Senate and House members.
  • Allows ASIO to use, record and disclose spent conviction information.
  • Requires the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) to report annually on public interest disclosures and complaints made to IGIS.
  • Removes the ability for the Ombudsman to investigate complaints concerning ASIS, the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO).
  • Removes freedom of information (FOI) exemptions for the AGO for documents related to the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO).
  • Requires Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) proceedings in relation to security records to be heard in the Security Division of the AAT. Narrows the circumstances in which IGIS is required to provide evidence to the AAT.
  • Clarifies the level of detail required in a Ministerial direction to the ASIS.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (82% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Dorinda Cox WA Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Barbara Pocock SA Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
David Shoebridge NSW Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Allman-Payne Queensland Absent
Jordon Steele-John WA Absent
Australian Labor Party (84% turnout) 21 Yes 0 No
Tim Ayres NSW Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Raff Ciccone Victoria Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
Nita Green Queensland Yes
Karen Grogan SA Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Fatima Payman WA Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Tony Sheldon NSW Yes
Marielle Smith SA Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Jana Stewart Victoria Yes
Jess Walsh Victoria Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Linda White Victoria Yes
Penny Wong SA Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Katy Gallagher ACT Absent
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Absent
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price NT Country Liberal Party No
Andrew McLachlan SA Deputy President No
David Pocock ACT Independent Yes
Lidia Thorpe Victoria Independent Absent
David Van Victoria Independent Absent
Jacqui Lambie Network (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Yes
Tammy Tyrrell Tasmania Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (83% turnout) 0 Yes 19 No
Alex Antic SA No
Andrew Bragg NSW No
Slade Brockman WA No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Claire Chandler Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
Sarah Henderson Victoria No
Hollie Hughes NSW No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Maria Kovacic NSW No
Kerrynne Liddle SA No
Matt O'Sullivan WA No
James Paterson Victoria No
Gerard Rennick Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Paul Scarr Queensland No
Dean Smith WA No
Wendy Askew Tasmania Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
National Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Perin Davey NSW No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Ross Cadell NSW Absent
Susan McDonald Queensland Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Yes
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Yes
Sue Lines WA President Yes
Ralph Babet Victoria United Australia Party Yes
Totals (82% turnout) 37 Yes – 25 No