How John Williams voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should give the immigration minister the power to revoke the citizenship of people who have dual nationality (that is, are also citizens of another country) if they take part in certain terrorism-related offences

Division John Williams Supporters vote Division outcome

1st Dec 2015, 9:01 PM – Senate Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of of the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary language, they voted to give the bill a second reading. The senators will now discuss the bill in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

The main idea of the bill is to remove the Australian citizenship of a dual national in certain situations, including if they fight for or serve a terrorist organisation (read more in the bills digest and ABC News).

Concerns about the bill

The senators who opposed the main idea of the bill had several concerns, including the following:

  • Senator Jacqui Lambie is concerned that the bill gives the power to revoke citizenship to a politician (the minister) rather than "an impartial judicial process" and she is concerned about how the bill will apply to the Australian Kurdish community (read her full speech);
  • Senator Nick Xenophon is concerned that the bill "will not make Australians safer" and believes it would be better where possible to ensure potential terrorists "are dragged back to this country to face trial and a lengthy period of imprisonment" rather than being free to potentially attack overseas Australians or other innocent people (read his whole speech);
  • Senator David Leyonhjelm is concerned that the bill further "erode[s] the rights and freedoms of Australians" (read his full speech);
  • Senator Nick McKim said the Australian Greens "believe that citizenship is too precious a gift and confers too many important rights to be effectively stripped at the whim of a government or at the whim of a minister" (read his full speech).

You can read the entire debate in the lead up to this vote on OpenAustralia.

Yes Yes (strong) 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 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 50 50

*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 = 50 / 50 = 100%.

And then