How Maria Vamvakinou voted compared to someone who believes that there should be more scrutiny or oversight of the actions and powers of Australian intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP)

Division Maria Vamvakinou Supporters vote Division outcome

10th Dec 2020, 10:57 AM – Representatives Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 - Consideration in Detail - The 'Howard safeguard'

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to disagree with amendments introduced by MP for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus (Labor), which means the amendments were unsuccessful.

What do these amendments do?

According to MP Dreyfus:

The amendment, although it has 30 parts, is to a single effect, which is to reinstate what we've called the 'Howard safeguard'. In other words, it would ensure that, with the consent of the Attorney-General, questioning warrants could only be issued by an independent issuing authority. Parliamentary counsel has seen it as necessary to develop a quite intricate set of amendments, but they only do the one thing: they put back an issuing authority, who will be a judge, and set up a process where the Director-General of Security, the head of ASIO, seeks the Attorney-General's consent and the Attorney-General then goes to the issuing authority for a warrant to be issued.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act to replace the existing framework for questioning warrants and questioning and detention warrants with a revised questioning warrant framework, make related changes to the Act and other legislation, and amend provisions in the Act relating to the use of surveillance devices.

Changes include:

  • expanding the purposes of questioning from terrorism offences to politically motivated violence, espionage and foreign interference
  • lowering the minimum age for the subject of a warrant from 16 to 14 years of age
  • having the Attorney-General issue warrants directly in place of an issuing authority
  • allowing for requests for warrants to be made, and warrants to be issued, orally in some circumstances
  • creating a new framework to allow the use of certain tracking devices by ASIO with internal authorisation from higher level officers (currently the use of such devices requires a warrant)
No No Passed by a small 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 0 0 0
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: 10 10

*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 = 10 / 10 = 100%.

And then