How Sam Dastyari 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 Sam Dastyari Supporters vote Division outcome

7th Dec 2017, 3:59 PM – Senate Motions - Security Services - Scrutiny

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The majority voted in favour of an amendment to a motion, which means the motion was amended in the manner set out below.

Original motion text

That the Senate notes—

(a) the need for the executive to respect and protect the non-political role of the security services;

(b) the need to keep confidential information secure;

(c) the importance of the principle that intelligence material should not be used for partisan purposes;

(d) the offences for communicating intelligence information under the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979, including penalties; and

(e) the recommendations of the Hope Royal Commissions on Intelligence and Security, in particular, relating to the relationship between the security services and executive government and the responsibility of the Government to protect and adhere to the above principles.

Amendment text

At the end of paragraph (e), add—

", and further affirms that enhanced scrutiny of the security services as proposed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Amendment Bill 2015, and extending to appropriate oversight of agency operations, would increase confidence that the security services strictly adhere to their non-political role and that intelligence material will not be used for partisan purposes."

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

17th Aug 2017, 12:27 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Secret Intelligence Service - Appear before Committee

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Nick Xenophon (SA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Foreign Minister has denied Witness K, a former public servant and Australian citizen, an Australian passport,

(ii) the denial was made on the advice of the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS), a competent authority for the purpose of the Australian Passports Act 2005,

(iii) denying an Australian citizen a passport is a serious restriction of liberty, and must not be done lightly,

(iv) during Budget estimates, questions were put to the Attorney-General (representing the Foreign Minister) as to the appropriateness of ASIS being relied upon as a competent authority in the circumstances of the case – the Attorney-General took the question on notice,

(v) after consideration, the Government has advised that the questions put to the Attorney-General are properly questions for ASIS,

(vi) although there is no constraint prohibiting ASIS from appearing at estimates hearings, they do not normally do so, and

(vii) the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee has declined to invite ASIS to appear at the October 2017 supplementary Budget estimates hearings; and

(b) orders that the Australian Security Intelligence Service appear before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee at the October 2017 supplementary Budget estimates hearings.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

8th Nov 2016, 7:24 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2016 - Second Reading - Agree to the bill's main idea

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The majority voted to support the main idea of the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted against giving the bill a second reading.

This means that the Senate can now discuss the bill in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

According to the bills digest, the bill:

is the latest in a series of reforms to national security and counter-terrorism laws since mid-2014. The Government states the Bill would address issues that have come to light through recent counter-terrorism investigations and operational activity.

A key part of the bill relates to control orders. For example, the bill would lower the minimum age that a control order can be imposed from 16 to 14 years of age. It would also introduce new ‘monitoring powers’ to:

allow police to use entry, search and seizure, telecommunications interception and surveillance device powers in relation to a person subject to a control order to monitor their compliance with the order and prevent terrorist related conduct

A concerning part of the bill relates to procedural fairness and will:

allow courts to consider information that is not disclosed to the person subject to a control order or their representative for security reasons, in control order proceedings ... and introduce a system of special advocates to represent the interests of those people in proceedings from which they and their legal representatives have been excluded ...

absent No (strong) Passed by a modest majority

29th Oct 2014, 12:41 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Australian Greens amendments

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The majority disagreed with a series of Greens amendments that proposed to change a lot of the bill's provisions. For example, they wanted to include more exceptions into the offence of entering and staying in a declared area and give judges more room to interpret what a legitimate purpose to be in those areas would be.

The amendments are known as "amendments numbers (1) to (3) and (20) to (24) on sheet 7594, and amendments (1) to (3) on sheet 7598, and amendments (1) to (8) on sheet 7599".

Enter or stay in declared area offence

The bill will make it an offence for someone to enter or stay in an area that the Minister for Foreign Affairs declares as a declared area. A whole country can be a declared area, which was criticised by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The current exceptions to this offence (in proposed subsection 119.2(3)) include when a person is involved in:

  • humanitarian aid (but this has to be the sole act),
  • a court case,
  • work for an Australian government (state or federal),
  • work for a foreign government (so long as it's not violating Australian law),
  • work for the United Nations,
  • journalism, and
  • visiting a family member.

Read more about this new offence in the bills digest.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

29th Oct 2014 – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority supported passing the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a third reading). The bill will now go to the House of Representatives to see if the members of parliament (MPs) agree with the senators and also want to pass the bill. If they do, the bill will become law.

The purpose of the bill is to address the threat posed by Australians fighting in foreign conflicts and then returning home.

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. The media has focused on how the bill will "make it easier for the Government to cancel passports and allow authorities to declare some conflicts as "no go" zones for Australian travellers" (see ABC News). These changes limit certain rights and freedoms (see ABC News).

The Government's Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights agreed that the bill will limit a broad range of human rights and freedoms but says that these limits are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

absent No Passed by a modest majority

28th Oct 2014, 9:55 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - In Committee - Add sunset clause for delayed notification search warrant

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The majority were against adding a sunset clause into the delayed notification search warrant (DNSW) so that a DNSW cannot be issued after 7 September 2018. The DNSW scheme will let the Australian Federal Police (AFP) do searches without telling the owner or occupier until later.

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm had proposed to include this sunset clause.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

28th Oct 2014, 9:10 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 - In Committee - Extend sunset clauses

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The majority supported extending the sunset clauses of particular security measures like preventative detention orders by an extra ten years. This means that those security measures can continue for another ten years before they will be reviewed.

This division was called after Greens Senator Penny Wright introduced a motion to oppose this extension.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

28th Oct 2014, 7:59 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 — Second Reading - Agree with the 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 senators can now discuss the bill in more detail.

The bill's main idea is to address the threat posed by Australians fighting in foreign conflicts and then returning home.

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. The media has focused on how the bill will "make it easier for the Government to cancel passports and allow authorities to declare some conflicts as "no go" zones for Australian travellers" (see ABC News). These changes limit certain rights and freedoms (see ABC News).

The Government's Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights agreed that the bill will limit a broad range of human rights and freedoms but says that these limits are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

Background to the bill

A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).

Two particularly significant incidents were when:

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

25th Sep 2014 – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - in Committee - Against increase in penalty for unauthorised disclosure

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The majority supported increasing the penalty for unauthorised disclosure of intelligence related information from a maximum of two years to ten years imprisonment. This means they disagreed with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's amendment that it should be opposed (see his explanation).

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. In particular, it extends the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

Senator Ludlam was particularly concerned about the new offences that apply to any person who discloses information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO), with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Two concerns with these offences are that:

  • they don't have exceptions for public interest disclosures or whistleblowing by ASIO employees, and
  • they apply to any person, including journalists.

Read more about these offences in the bills digest.

Background to the bill

After the major counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the balance between freedom and security had to shift (see ABC News). This bill is part of that change.

The bill also seems to be a response to American Edward Snowden leaking classified American intelligence information last year.

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

25th Sep 2014 – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - in Committee - Remove secrecy provisions

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The majority supported the bill's secrecy provisions, which means they disagreed with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's amendments that they should be opposed.

These secrecy provisions include deleting subsection 35P(1) from the bill, which would make it an offence punishable by five years' imprisonment for a person to disclose information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO) (see Senator Ludlam's explanation of these amendments).

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. In particular, it extends the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

The bill also creates new offences that apply to any person who discloses information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO), with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Two concerns with these offences are that:

  • they don't have exceptions for public interest disclosures or whistleblowing by ASIO employees, and
  • they apply to any person, including journalists.

Background to the bill

After the major counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the balance between freedom and security had to shift (see ABC News). This bill is part of that change.

The bill also seems to be a response to American Edward Snowden leaking classified American intelligence information last year.

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

24th Sep 2014, 10:53 AM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - Second Reading - Independent oversight of Australia's intelligence services

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The majority disagreed that an independent committee should be created to oversee Australia's intelligence services. This was proposed by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon (see his explanation).

Senator Xenophon suggested that the committee should be similar to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the German Parliamentary Control Panel, G10 Commission and Confidential Committee of the Budget Committee.

Background to the bill

After the major counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the balance between freedom and security had to shift (see ABC News). This bill is part of that change.

The bill also seems to be a response to American Edward Snowden leaking classified American intelligence information last year.

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 0 50
MP absent 2 50 100
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 3 0 30
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 5 5 10
Total: 55 190

*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 = 55 / 190 = 29%.

And then