How Brett Mason voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should amend freedom of information (FOI) legislation to increase public access to government data and documents

Division Brett Mason Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Jun 2013, 7:53 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 — Third Reading — Read a third time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time. This means that the bill is now passed in the Senate. Because it has already passed in the House of Representatives, it will now the sent to the Governor General to become law.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:46 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 - In Committee - Report individial expenditure

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Senator Rhiannon explained that this amendment "creates an obligation that all senators and members be required to provide a link on their official parliamentary website to their individual expenditure reports on the Finance website".(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here, after 7:40 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:34 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 - In Committee - Freedom of information for administrative matters

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

This amendment limits Freedom of Information ('FOI') applications to documents of an administrative matter only, which is a much reduced form of FOI.(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here, after 7:30 pm. ) It was introduced after Senator Rhiannon's previous amendment was rejected.(See the division on the previous amendment here. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:28 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 — In Committee — Freedom of certain information

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Senator Rhiannon explained that:

This amendment defines the FOI applications that can be made in relation to parliamentary departments and office holders. The amendment is that information relating to the parliamentary departments, office holders' use of public resources and departmental administrative functions should be subject to FOI, while information relating to parliamentary proceedings, matters of political strategy or an MP's activities-for example, when dealing with constituents-are not.(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation and the associated debate here, after 7:17 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Aug 2009, 11:49 AM – Senate Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and Other Measures) Bill 2008 [2009] — In Committee — Remove deeming provisions exempting agencies

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The majority voted against the amendments introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, which means they were unsuccessful. The amendments would have inserted provisions to repeal subsection 7(1) and Division 1 of Part I of Schedule 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, which dealt with the exemption of certain persons and bodies from the provisions of that Act.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to:

  • remove the power to issue conclusive certificates;
  • revoke existing conclusive certificates if a new access request is received;
  • implement measures to protect sensitive information in proceedings before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; and
  • make consequential amendments.(More information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here

)

The abolition of conclusive certificates was part of the Labor Party's 2007 election policy commitment.(Read more about this policy commitment in the bills digest. ) This would have addressed the current situation where a Minister can issue a certificate that exempts a document from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 if the Minister is satisfied that an exemption applies (e.g. in relation to national security).(Read more about conclusive certificates in the bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Brett Mason was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.