How David Smith voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation to increase the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to intercept and retain communications related to persons of interest. These agencies include the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Division David Smith Supporters vote Division outcome

6th Dec 2018, 7:22 PM – Senate Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of a motion "[t]hat the remaining stages of this bill be agreed to and this bill be now passed." Since the bill has already passed in the House of Representatives, it can now become law.

What is the bill's main idea?

According to the bills digest:

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 will amend a number of Acts—primarily the Telecommunications Act 1997, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 and the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (SD Act)—to facilitate access to certain communications and data for the purposes of disrupting and investigating criminal activity and threats to national security, including organised crime and terrorism.

The Government is responding to the impediment that the increasing prevalence of encrypted data and communications represents to available investigative and interception capabilities.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

6th Dec 2018, 7:09 PM – Senate Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the main idea of the bill, which means the can now 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?

According to the bills digest:

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 will amend a number of Acts—primarily the Telecommunications Act 1997, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 and the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (SD Act)—to facilitate access to certain communications and data for the purposes of disrupting and investigating criminal activity and threats to national security, including organised crime and terrorism.

The Government is responding to the impediment that the increasing prevalence of encrypted data and communications represents to available investigative and interception capabilities.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

20th Sep 2018, 12:27 PM – Senate Motions - Right to Privacy - Protect

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John (WA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2013, the UN General Assembly affirmed that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online, and it called upon all states to respect and protect the right to privacy in digital communication,

(ii) on 13 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the methods for bulk interception of online communications used by the United Kingdom's (UK) Government Communications Headquarters violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards,

(iii) the ECHR ruled that safeguards must indicate "the nature of offences which may give rise to an interception order; a definition of the categories of people liable to have their communications intercepted; a limit on the duration of interception; the procedure to be followed for examining, using and storing the data obtained; the precautions to be taken when communicating the data to other parties; and the circumstances in which intercepted data may or must be erased or destroyed",

(iv) the legal challenge was brought by Big Brother Watch and Others following revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower, Mr Edward Snowden, in 2013 that intelligence services were covertly intercepting, processing, and storing communications data in bulk, and

(v) Australian mass surveillance laws, including the proposed Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, are based on the UK Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the Snoopers' Charter; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) consider Australia's obligations under the UN Declaration of Human Rights and international laws, including the European General Data Protection Regulation, and

(ii) review Australian privacy and surveillance laws, to ensure Australians' human rights are upheld, including their right to privacy, and that sufficient safeguards are enshrined in legislation.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted very strongly 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 2 100 100
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 110 110

*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 = 110 / 110 = 100%.

And then