How Chris Ketter voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should address the issue of foreign interference in Australia by, for example, introducing new offences against acts such as sabotage, treason and espionage

Division Chris Ketter Supporters vote Division outcome

15th Aug 2018, 4:01 PM – Senate Motions - Confucius Institute - Foreign influence

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Cory Bernardi, which means it failed. There was one rebel, with Nationals Senator Barry O'Sullivan (Qld) voting 'Yes' against the rest of the Nationals Party.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes the increasing number of Confucius classes or institutes being established within the Australian education system, accompanied by generous foreign government grants;

(b) also notes an SBS report that:

(i) Australia has the third largest number of such institutes after the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and

(ii) there were 525 institutes and 1 113 classrooms across 146 countries worldwide by the end of 2017;

(c) further notes concerns that have been expressed, including in the documentary 'In the name of Confucius' aired around Australia during the winter break, regarding academic freedom and freedom of conscience at or around these institutes;

(d) likewise notes comments attributed to Mr Ross Babbage, a former head of strategic analysis in the Office of National Assessments, and now a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington, stating that Australian universities are "naive" about what goes on in the institutes, and that since early 2018 the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation has been warning about the institutes' activities on United States' campuses;

(e) observes that the New South Wales government is reviewing its engagement with the institute; and

(f) calls upon the Minister for Education and Training to work with his state and territory counterparts to ensure full reviews of their engagement with these institutes and classrooms.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

28th Jun 2018, 7:22 PM – Senate Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018 and another - Third Reading - Pass the bills

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to pass the bills. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a third time.

What do these bills do?

These bills were introduced to target foreign influence in Australia by creating a new transparency scheme and introducing a series of new offences targeting things like sabotage, treason and espionage.

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to establish the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme to, which will:

  • require registration by certain people undertaking certain activities on behalf of a foreign principal;
  • require registrants to disclose information about the nature of their relationship with the foreign principal and activities undertaken pursuant to that relationship;
  • place additional disclosure requirements on registrants during elections and other voting periods;
  • establish a register of scheme information and provide for certain information to be made publicly available;
  • provide the secretary with powers to obtain information and documents; and
  • establish various penalties for non-compliance with the scheme.

Read more in the bills digest.

National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to:

  • amend existing, and introduce new, espionage offences relating to a broad range of dealings with information, including solicitation and preparation and planning offences;
  • introduce new offences relating to foreign interference with Australia’s political, governmental or democratic processes;
  • replace the existing sabotage offence with new sabotage offences relating to conduct causing damage to a broad range of critical infrastructure that could prejudice Australia’s national security;
  • introduce a new offence relating to theft of trade secrets on behalf of a foreign government;
  • amend existing, and introduce new, offences relating to treason and other threats to national security, such as interference with Australian democratic or political rights by conduct involving the use of force, violence or intimidation; and
  • introduce a new aggravated offence where a person provides false or misleading information relating to an application for, or maintenance of, an Australian Government security clearance.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

28th Jun 2018, 6:20 PM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018 - in Committee - Support the new offence of sabotage

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to keep sections 82.5 and 82.6, in item 8 of schedule 1, unchanged. This motion was put after Greens Senator Nick McKim had proposed that those sections be opposed.

Sections 82.5 and 82.6

82.5 Offence of sabotage with intention as to national security

(1) A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person engages in conduct; and

(b) the conduct results in damage to public infrastructure; and

(c) the person intends that the conduct will:

(i) prejudice Australia’s national security; or

(ii) advantage the national security of a foreign country.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 20 years.

(2) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(c)(ii), the person:

(a) does not need to have in mind a particular foreign country; and

(b) may have in mind more than one foreign country.

Note: An alternative verdict may be available for an offence against this section (see section 82.12).

82.6 Offence of sabotage reckless as to national security

(1) A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person engages in conduct; and

(b) the conduct results in damage to public infrastructure; and

(c) the person is reckless as to whether the conduct will:

(i) prejudice Australia’s national security; or

(ii) advantage the national security of a foreign country.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 15 years.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), the person:

(a) does not need to have in mind a particular foreign country; and

(b) may have in mind more than one foreign country.

What does this bill do?

This bill was introduced to:

  • amend existing, and introduce new, espionage offences relating to a broad range of dealings with information, including solicitation and preparation and planning offences;
  • introduce new offences relating to foreign interference with Australia’s political, governmental or democratic processes;
  • replace the existing sabotage offence with new sabotage offences relating to conduct causing damage to a broad range of critical infrastructure that could prejudice Australia’s national security;
  • introduce a new offence relating to theft of trade secrets on behalf of a foreign government;
  • amend existing, and introduce new, offences relating to treason and other threats to national security, such as interference with Australian democratic or political rights by conduct involving the use of force, violence or intimidation; and
  • introduce a new aggravated offence where a person provides false or misleading information relating to an application for, or maintenance of, an Australian Government security clearance.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes Passed by a modest majority

28th Jun 2018, 10:21 AM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018 and another - Second Reading - Agree with bills' main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bills, which means they can now discuss them in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a second time.

What do these bills do?

These bills were introduced to target foreign influence in Australia by creating a new transparency scheme and introducing a series of new offences targeting things like sabotage, treason and espionage.

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to establish the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme to, which will:

  • require registration by certain people undertaking certain activities on behalf of a foreign principal;
  • require registrants to disclose information about the nature of their relationship with the foreign principal and activities undertaken pursuant to that relationship;
  • place additional disclosure requirements on registrants during elections and other voting periods;
  • establish a register of scheme information and provide for certain information to be made publicly available;
  • provide the secretary with powers to obtain information and documents; and
  • establish various penalties for non-compliance with the scheme.

Read more in the bills digest.

National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to:

  • amend existing, and introduce new, espionage offences relating to a broad range of dealings with information, including solicitation and preparation and planning offences;
  • introduce new offences relating to foreign interference with Australia’s political, governmental or democratic processes;
  • replace the existing sabotage offence with new sabotage offences relating to conduct causing damage to a broad range of critical infrastructure that could prejudice Australia’s national security;
  • introduce a new offence relating to theft of trade secrets on behalf of a foreign government;
  • amend existing, and introduce new, offences relating to treason and other threats to national security, such as interference with Australian democratic or political rights by conduct involving the use of force, violence or intimidation; and
  • introduce a new aggravated offence where a person provides false or misleading information relating to an application for, or maintenance of, an Australian Government security clearance.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

27th Jun 2018, 9:51 AM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 and another - First Reading - Consider bills together

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that these bills may proceed without formalities and be taken together. Because this vote was successful, the two bills will be considered at the same time and more speedily than usual.

What do these bills do?

These bills were introduced to target foreign influence in Australia by creating a new transparency scheme and introducing a series of new offences targeting things like sabotage, treason and espionage.

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to establish the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme to, which will:

  • require registration by certain people undertaking certain activities on behalf of a foreign principal;
  • require registrants to disclose information about the nature of their relationship with the foreign principal and activities undertaken pursuant to that relationship;
  • place additional disclosure requirements on registrants during elections and other voting periods;
  • establish a register of scheme information and provide for certain information to be made publicly available;
  • provide the secretary with powers to obtain information and documents; and
  • establish various penalties for non-compliance with the scheme.

Read more in the bills digest.

National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018

This bill was introduced to:

  • amend existing, and introduce new, espionage offences relating to a broad range of dealings with information, including solicitation and preparation and planning offences;
  • introduce new offences relating to foreign interference with Australia’s political, governmental or democratic processes;
  • replace the existing sabotage offence with new sabotage offences relating to conduct causing damage to a broad range of critical infrastructure that could prejudice Australia’s national security;
  • introduce a new offence relating to theft of trade secrets on behalf of a foreign government;
  • amend existing, and introduce new, offences relating to treason and other threats to national security, such as interference with Australian democratic or political rights by conduct involving the use of force, violence or intimidation; and
  • introduce a new aggravated offence where a person provides false or misleading information relating to an application for, or maintenance of, an Australian Government security clearance.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes Passed by a modest majority

14th Jun 2017, 4:26 PM – Senate Motions - Influence of Foreign Agents - Royal Commission

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes reports, arising from a joint investigation by the ABC Four Corners program and Fairfax Media, broadcast on 5 June 2017 regarding the increasing influence of the People's Republic of China in Australia's political system and within academia; and

(b) calls on the Prime Minister to request His Excellency the Governor-General issue Letters Patent to establish a royal commission into the following:

(i) the influence of foreign agents in offering direct or indirect benefits to politicians, political parties, governments and academia with a view to influencing decisions or other actions by those recipients to be in accord with the view of foreign governments, including, but not limited to, the Chinese Communist Party, and

(ii) possible reforms to preserve the sovereignty, transparency and integrity of Australian democracy.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted 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 2 100 100
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 2 20 20
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 121 132

*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 = 121 / 132 = 92%.

And then