How Malarndirri McCarthy voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation to increase the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to intercept and retain communications related to persons of interest. These agencies include the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Division Malarndirri McCarthy 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

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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 Yes (strong) 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

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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.

Yes Yes (strong) 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.

absent No 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 ...

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 3 150 150
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* 1 1 2
Total: 151 152

*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 = 151 / 152 = 99%.

And then