How Michael Ronaldson voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should make it an offence to enter or remain in areas that have been listed as “declared areas” by the Minister for Foreign Affairs because of terrorist activity (such as the Mosul district in Iraq and Al-Raqqa Province in Syria)

Division Michael Ronaldson Supporters vote Division outcome

29th Oct 2014, 12:41 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Australian Greens amendments

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The majority disagreed with a series of Greens amendments that proposed to change a lot of the bill's provisions. For example, they wanted to include more exceptions into the offence of entering and staying in a declared area and give judges more room to interpret what a legitimate purpose to be in those areas would be.

The amendments are known as "amendments numbers (1) to (3) and (20) to (24) on sheet 7594, and amendments (1) to (3) on sheet 7598, and amendments (1) to (8) on sheet 7599".

Enter or stay in declared area offence

The bill will make it an offence for someone to enter or stay in an area that the Minister for Foreign Affairs declares as a declared area. A whole country can be a declared area, which was criticised by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The current exceptions to this offence (in proposed subsection 119.2(3)) include when a person is involved in:

  • humanitarian aid (but this has to be the sole act),
  • a court case,
  • work for an Australian government (state or federal),
  • work for a foreign government (so long as it's not violating Australian law),
  • work for the United Nations,
  • journalism, and
  • visiting a family member.

Read more about this new offence in the bills digest.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

29th Oct 2014, 11:56 AM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Support offence of entering and staying in a declared area

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The majority supported the bill's new offence of entering and staying in a declared area.

Greens Senator Penny Wright had proposed to oppose it.

Enter or stay in declared area offence

The bill will make it an offence for someone to enter or stay in an area that the Minister for Foreign Affairs declares as a declared area. A whole country can be a declared area, which was criticised by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.

Read more about this new offence in the bills digest.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

29th Oct 2014 – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority supported passing the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a third reading). The bill will now go to the House of Representatives to see if the members of parliament (MPs) agree with the senators and also want to pass the bill. If they do, the bill will become law.

The purpose of the bill is to address the threat posed by Australians fighting in foreign conflicts and then returning home.

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. The media has focused on how the bill will "make it easier for the Government to cancel passports and allow authorities to declare some conflicts as "no go" zones for Australian travellers" (see ABC News). These changes limit certain rights and freedoms (see ABC News).

The Government's Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights agreed that the bill will limit a broad range of human rights and freedoms but says that these limits are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

28th Oct 2014, 7:59 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 — Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority agreed with the bill's main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they voted in favour of giving the bill a second reading). This means that the senators can now discuss the bill in more detail.

The bill's main idea is to address the threat posed by Australians fighting in foreign conflicts and then returning home.

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. The media has focused on how the bill will "make it easier for the Government to cancel passports and allow authorities to declare some conflicts as "no go" zones for Australian travellers" (see ABC News). These changes limit certain rights and freedoms (see ABC News).

The Government's Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights agreed that the bill will limit a broad range of human rights and freedoms but says that these limits are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

How "voted moderately for" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 2 50 100
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 101 152

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 101 / 152 = 66%.

And then