How Bill Heffernan voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should protect the right of its citizens to protest against its laws, policies and decisions

Division Bill Heffernan Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Feb 2006, 12:08 PM – Senate Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Bill 2005 [2006] — In Committee - Protest

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The majority voted to keep certain items (schedule 2, item 5 and schedule 3, item 3) in the bill unchanged.

This vote happened after Greens Senator Bob Brown moved the following:

(1) Schedule 2, item 5, page 26 (lines 11 to 25), TO BE OPPOSED.

(2) Schedule 3, item 3, page 31 (line 30) to page 32 (line 13), TO BE OPPOSED.

This means that Senator Brown wanted the Senate to reject these items. However, he was unsuccessful and the items remained unchanged.

What were the items that Senator Brown opposed?

Senator Brown explained that he opposed the two items because they would mean that:

... the Chief of the Defence Force, acting on the direction of the Prime Minister, can intervene on a protest by Australians where he or she thinks there is a reasonable chance of serious damage to property. In other words, the Prime Minister can have the Chief of the Defence Force send troops into action against Australians who are protesting on any account.

Text of Schedule 2, item 5:

Insert:

(2A) Despite subsection (1), in exercising powers under Division 2A, a member of the Defence Force must not, in using force against a person:

(a) do anything that is likely to cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, the person unless the member believes on reasonable grounds that doing that thing is necessary to:

(i) protect the life of, or to prevent serious injury to, another person (including the member); or

(ii) protect, against the threat concerned, the designated critical infrastructure in respect of which the powers are being exercised; or

(b) subject the person to greater indignity than is reasonable and necessary in the circumstances.

Text of Schedule 3, item 3:

Insert:

(2B) Despite subsection (1), in exercising powers under subparagraph 51SE(1)(a)(i) or (ii) or Division 3B, a member of the Defence Force must not, in using force against a person or thing, do anything that is likely to cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, the person unless the member believes on reasonable grounds that:

(a) doing that thing is necessary to protect the life of, or to prevent serious injury to, another person (including the member); or

(b) doing that thing is necessary to protect designated critical infrastructure against a threat of damage or disruption to its operation; or

(c) doing that thing is necessary and reasonable to give effect to the order under which, or under the authority of which, the member is acting.

Learn more about the bill

See the bills digest for more information about the bill.

absent No (strong) Passed by a large majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Bill Heffernan was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.