How Mehreen Faruqi 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 Mehreen Faruqi Supporters vote Division outcome

1st Aug 2019, 11:34 AM – Senate Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment (Sunsetting of Special Powers Relating to Terrorism Offences) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time. This means that the senators can now discuss the bill in greater detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

This bill was introduced to extend the operation of certain special powers relating to suspected terrorism offences to 7 September 2020. Currently, those powers are due to sunset (that is, stop being part of our law) on 7 September 2019.

What are the special powers?

The special powers extended by this bill are the power to issue questioning warrants (QWs) and questioning and detention warrants (QDWs) in relation to suspected terrorism offences. They are extraordinary because they can be issued in relation to someone even though they are not suspected of, or charged with, any offence. In other words, these warrants are an intelligence-gathering and preventative power. Someone might be subject to these warrants because they can provide information about a potential terrorism offence and they may be detained in order to prevent them from damaging evidence or alerting someone involved in a terrorism offence that their actions are being investigated.

These powers have been extended several times since they were first introduced in 2002. More information is available in the bills digest.

No No Passed by a large majority

25th Jul 2019, 4:19 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019, Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 - in Committee - Oversight

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by SA Senator Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), which means it failed.

What would the amendments do?

Senator Patrick explained that:

The amendment will amend the Intelligence Services Act to remove most, although not all, the current legislative constraints on the scope of the [Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security]'s inquiries, and would allow the committee to review the operational performance of our intelligence agencies—a vital aspect of any effective scrutiny regime. The proposed amendment to the role of the PJCIS does retain existing prohibitions on:

… reviewing information provided by, or by an agency of, a foreign government where that government does not consent to the disclosure of the information; …

It also retains the prohibition on conducting inquiries into individual complaints about the activities of designated intelligence and national security agencies, as those complaints are appropriately dealt with by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Yes Yes Not passed by a modest majority

20th Sep 2018, 12:27 PM – Senate Motions - Right to Privacy - Protect

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2013, the UN General Assembly affirmed that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online, and it called upon all states to respect and protect the right to privacy in digital communication,

(ii) on 13 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the methods for bulk interception of online communications used by the United Kingdom's (UK) Government Communications Headquarters violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards,

(iii) the ECHR ruled that safeguards must indicate "the nature of offences which may give rise to an interception order; a definition of the categories of people liable to have their communications intercepted; a limit on the duration of interception; the procedure to be followed for examining, using and storing the data obtained; the precautions to be taken when communicating the data to other parties; and the circumstances in which intercepted data may or must be erased or destroyed",

(iv) the legal challenge was brought by Big Brother Watch and Others following revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower, Mr Edward Snowden, in 2013 that intelligence services were covertly intercepting, processing, and storing communications data in bulk, and

(v) Australian mass surveillance laws, including the proposed Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, are based on the UK Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the Snoopers' Charter; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) consider Australia's obligations under the UN Declaration of Human Rights and international laws, including the European General Data Protection Regulation, and

(ii) review Australian privacy and surveillance laws, to ensure Australians' human rights are upheld, including their right to privacy, and that sufficient safeguards are enshrined in legislation.

Yes Yes Not 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 3 30 30
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 30 30

*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 = 30 / 30 = 100%.

And then