How Brian Burston voted compared to someone who believes that Strong encryption technologies are critical and necessary enablers of communications and commerce. Strong encryption technologies should not be restricted, back-doored, undermined or crippled by law.

Division Brian Burston 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

Show detail

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 No 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

Show detail

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.

No No Passed by a modest majority

15th Aug 2018, 4:06 PM – Senate Motions - Digital Encryption - Warrant and privacy

Show detail

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

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) on 27 March 2018, the Senate passed a motion recognising the importance of strong digital encryption in protecting the personal and financial information of Australians, in preventing identity theft and other crime, and in ensuring that public interest whistleblowers, journalists, and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,

(ii) on 31 July 2018, the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) made a statement that 'My Health Record' legislation will be amended to "ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order" ,

(iii) on 14 August 2018, the Government released draft legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant in order to search electronic devices and access content on those devices, and

(iv) currently, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, law enforcement agencies can access telecommunications metadata without a warrant; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) extend the requirement for a warrant to metadata, and collection and interception of all communications of Australians, for consistency and to uphold Australians' right to privacy,

(ii) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies, and

(iii) not actively undermine encryption and privacy by introducing legislation that compels telecommunications and information technology companies to break encryption or introduce weaknesses into communications systems or devices used by Australians.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted a mixture of for and 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 11 22

*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 = 11 / 22 = 50%.

And then