How David Coleman voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should implement the international conventions that relate to seeking refuge and protection from torture. These include the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and the non-refoulement provisions of the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Division David Coleman Supporters vote Division outcome

10th Nov 2016, 12:59 PM – Representatives Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the House of Representatives, which means it will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a third time.

What does this bill do?

The bill will stop adult asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat and were taken to the Nauru or Manus Island detention centres after 19 July 2013 from ever applying for an Australian visa. This means they will never be able to come to Australia, unless the Immigration Minister decides to grant them a special exception.

Is the bill against international law?

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says that the bill is not breaking Australia's international obligations.

Article 31 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees says:

1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, *coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened** in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.*

It seems that Mr Dutton may be holding tight to the sentence in bold in order to justify this bill in a strictly legal sense, and it's not the job of this summary to argue one way or the other about whether this bill does or doesn't break Australia's international obligations.

However, it seems clear that at the very least this bill does go against the vibe of the Refugee Convention (as The Castle's Dennis Denuto would say).

Also, Australia is arguably already violating our international law obligations by transferring asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island in the first place.

View of the Opposition

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said:

"It seems ridiculous to me that a genuine refugee who settles in the US or Canada and becomes a US or Canadian citizen is banned from visiting Australia as a tourist, businessman or businesswoman 40 years down track ..."

Yes No Passed by a small majority

10th Nov 2016, 12:53 PM – Representatives Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of the bill's main idea, which means they can discuss it in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.

What is the bill's main idea?

The bill will stop adult asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat and were taken to the Nauru or Manus Island detention centres after 19 July 2013 from ever applying for an Australian visa. This means they will never be able to come to Australia, unless the Immigration Minister decides to grant them a special exception.

Is the bill against international law?

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says that the bill is not breaking Australia's international obligations.

Article 31 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees says:

1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, *coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened** in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.*

It seems that Mr Dutton may be holding tight to the sentence in bold in order to justify this bill in a strictly legal sense, and it's not the job of this summary to argue one way or the other about whether this bill does or doesn't break Australia's international obligations.

However, it seems clear that at the very least this bill does go against the vibe of the Refugee Convention (as The Castle's Dennis Denuto would say).

Also, Australia is arguably already violating our international law obligations by transferring asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island in the first place.

View of the Opposition

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said:

"It seems ridiculous to me that a genuine refugee who settles in the US or Canada and becomes a US or Canadian citizen is banned from visiting Australia as a tourist, businessman or businesswoman 40 years down track ..."

Yes No Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014 – Representatives Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Consideration of Senate Message - Agree with Senate's amendments

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The majority agreed with the amendments made to the bill in the Senate. This means that the bill can now become law because it has been passed by both houses of Parliament in the same form.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

absent No (strong) Passed by a small majority

22nd Oct 2014, 5:12 PM – Representatives Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with 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 House of Representatives can now discuss the bill in more detail.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

22nd Sep 2014, 8:45 PM – Representatives Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 - Consideration in Detail - Agree to the bill

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the bill be agreed to. This means that the majority agree with the bill in its current form and that the House of Representatives can now consider whether to pass it. (Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. )

Background to the bill

The bill makes a number of changes to the Migration Act 1958, including:

  • clarifying that it is the applicant and not the Minister who has the responsibility to specify all particulars of a protection claim and to provide sufficient evidence; (A protection claim is a claim for asylum that is made by asylum seekers.)
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant refuses or fails to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship, and does not have a reasonable explanation for doing so;
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant provides false documents to establish their identity or either destroys or discards identity evidence, or has caused that evidence to be destroyed or discarded;
  • clarifying that a family member of a protection visa holder cannot be granted a protection visa on the basis of being a family member if they apply after the initial visa has been granted;
  • providing that the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) must draw an unfavourable inference with regard to the credibility of claims or evidence that are raised for the first time before it if the review applicant has no reasonable explanation to justify why those claims and evidence were not raised before the primary decision was made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection; and
  • clarifying Australia’s interpretation of the likelihood of harm and the types of harm necessary to engage Australia’s non-refoulement obligations.

(See the bills digest for more information about these and other changes made by the bill.)

Both the Labor Party and Greens Party have expressed concern about the changes made in this bill. (Read more about the position taken by the opposition in relation to this bill in the bills digest.)

Yes No Passed by a small majority

22nd Sep 2014, 8:37 PM – Representatives Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 - Consideration in Detail - Complementary protection

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Labor MP Richard Marles, which means that they were unsuccessful. These amendments would have removed schedule 2 and item 17 of schedule 4 from the bill.

Schedule 2 relates to complementary protection, which comes from the principle of non-refoulement. This principle is drawn from provisions contained in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This bill increases the threshold required before Australia's non-refoulement obligations are activated. Previously, there needed to be "a real risk that the non-citizen will suffer significant harm" if they are removed from Australia. Under this bill, it needs to be "more likely than not that the non-citizen will suffer significant harm" if they are removed from Australia". (Read more about complementary protection under the bill in the bills digest. )

Item 17 of schedule 4 relates to oral decisions made by the Refugee Review Tribunal. Currently, the Tribunal can make an oral decision but must also make a written statement within 14 days. This bill provides that if the Tribunal makes an oral decision on review then it can choose to make either a written or an oral statement.

Background to the bill

The bill makes a number of changes to the Migration Act 1958, including:

  • clarifying that it is the applicant and not the Minister who has the responsibility to specify all particulars of a protection claim and to provide sufficient evidence;(A protection claim is a claim for asylum that is made by asylum seekers.)
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant refuses or fails to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship, and does not have a reasonable explanation for doing so;
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant provides false documents to establish their identity or either destroys or discards identity evidence, or has caused that evidence to be destroyed or discarded;
  • clarifying that a family member of a protection visa holder cannot be granted a protection visa on the basis of being a family member if they apply after the initial visa has been granted;
  • providing that the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) must draw an unfavourable inference with regard to the credibility of claims or evidence that are raised for the first time before it if the review applicant has no reasonable explanation to justify why those claims and evidence were not raised before the primary decision was made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection; and
  • clarifying Australia’s interpretation of the likelihood of harm and the types of harm necessary to engage Australia’s non-refoulement obligations.

(See the bills digest for more information about these and other changes made by the bill.)

Both the Labor Party and Greens Party have expressed concern about the changes made in this bill. (Read more about the position taken by the opposition in relation to this bill in the bills digest.)

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

22nd Sep 2014, 8:14 PM – Representatives Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the bill be read for a second time. This means that the majority agree with the main idea of the bill and that it can now be discussed in more detail. (Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. )

Background to the bill

The bill makes a number of changes to the Migration Act 1958, including:

  • clarifying that it is the applicant and not the Minister who has the responsibility to specify all particulars of a protection claim and to provide sufficient evidence; (A protection claim is a claim for asylum that is made by asylum seekers.)
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant refuses or fails to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship, and does not have a reasonable explanation for doing so;
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant provides false documents to establish their identity or either destroys or discards identity evidence, or has caused that evidence to be destroyed or discarded;
  • clarifying that a family member of a protection visa holder cannot be granted a protection visa on the basis of being a family member if they apply after the initial visa has been granted;
  • providing that the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) must draw an unfavourable inference with regard to the credibility of claims or evidence that are raised for the first time before it if the review applicant has no reasonable explanation to justify why those claims and evidence were not raised before the primary decision was made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection; and
  • clarifying Australia’s interpretation of the likelihood of harm and the types of harm necessary to engage Australia’s non-refoulement obligations.

(See the bills digest for more information about these and other changes made by the bill.)

Both the Labor Party and Greens Party have expressed concern about the changes made in this bill. (Read more about the position taken by the opposition in relation to this bill in the bills digest.)

Yes No Passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately against" 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 1 0 50
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 5 0 50
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 25 150

*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 = 25 / 150 = 17%.

And then