How Karen Andrews voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should issue instructions for border protection forces to turn back boats carrying asylum seekers to Australia where it is safe to do so

Division Karen Andrews Supporters vote Division outcome

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 Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

15th Aug 2012, 1:05 PM – Representatives Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011 - Second Reading - Coalition's policies

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The majority voted against a motion proposed by Liberal MP Scott Morrison.

The motion was to amend a previous motion proposed by Greens MP Adam Bandt. The wording of Morrison's motion is the following:

That all words after "House" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

(1) notes that the Government has accepted the Coalition’s policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island; and (2) calls upon the Government to implement the full suite of the Coalition’s successful policies and calls upon the government to immediately: (a) restore temporary protection visas for all offshore entry persons found to be refugees; (b) issue new instructions to Northern Command to commence to turn back boats where it is safe to do so; (c) use existing law to remove the benefit of the doubt on a person's identity where there is a reasonable belief that a person has deliberately discarded their documentation; and (d) restore the Bali Process to once again focus on deterrence and border security.

Background to the bill

The bill was originally introduced in the House of Representatives as the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011. It was drafted in response to the High Court's judgement in Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship () HCA 32, which put an end to the Labor Government's Malaysia Solution policy.(Read more about the decision on Wikipedia here and on ABC News here. Read more about the effect of this decision on the Malaysia Solution here.)

To this end, the bill amends the Migration Act 1958 to replace the existing framework for taking offshore entry persons to another country for assessment of their claims to be refugees. The bill also replaces discretionary detention with mandatory detention for all asylum seekers at an offshore place, such as Christmas Island, and alters the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 in relation to making and implementing any decision to remove, deport or take a non-citizen child from Australia by overriding the guardianship obligations under that Act.


Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

28th Oct 2010, 9:38 AM – Representatives Private Members’ Business - Asylum Seekers - Re-introduce Coalition policies

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Liberal MP Scott Morrison, which read:

That this house:

(1) notes that:

(a) the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugees Convention) states that ‘contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin’;

(b) the Government suspended the processing of asylum seeker applications from Afghanistan on 9 April 2010; and

(c) there are more than 5000 persons currently being detained by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on the mainland and Christmas Island;

(2) condemns the Rudd Gillard Government for their imposition of a discriminatory freeze of the assessment of asylum applications for persons from Afghanistan arriving in Australia; and

(3) calls for the introduction of proven policies proposed by the Coalition to address unprecedented irregular maritime arrivals to Australia, including:

(a) the application of temporary visas for all persons who have arrived illegally in Australia;

(b) the reopening of a third country processing centre in Nauru for irregular maritime arrivals to Australia;

(c) being prepared to turn around boats where the circumstances permit;

(d) streamline the appeals process by removing the panel system and replace with a review by a single case officer as practiced by the UNHCR;

(e) presuming against refugee status determination for persons who are reasonably believed to have destroyed or discarded their identity documentation; and

(f) return unsuccessful claimants for refugee status to their country of origin.

Yes Yes Not 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 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 2 20 20
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 70 70

*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 = 70 / 70 = 100%.

And then