How Glenn Lazarus voted compared to someone who believes that there should be more independent access to detention centres and more information provided about the management of asylum seekers under Australian government policy, including the interception of boats at sea

Division Glenn Lazarus Supporters vote Division outcome

4th Dec 2014, 11:55 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Keep schedule 5 as it is

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The majority agreed that schedule 5 should remain as it is (in parliamentary jargon, they voted that "schedule 5 stand as printed"). This question was put to the Senate after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a motion to oppose the schedule.

What is Schedule 5?

This schedule makes changes that may go against some of Australia's international law obligations, particularly in respect to non-refoulement and the definition of a refugee.

Non-refoulement

The non-refoulement obligation stops Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has this obligation because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

Schedule 5 will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

Refugee definition

Under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is any person who:

'owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.'

Schedule 5 inserts new definitions for some of these requirements, including new definitions of ‘well-founded fear’ and ‘membership of a particular social group other than family’. It also removes several references to the Refugee Convention from the Migration Act.

The bills digest suggests that these changes have been made "at the very least to limit Australia’s obligations under the [Refugee] Convention and curtail the way in which such obligations are interpreted by the judiciary".

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 11:45 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Keep schedule 4 as it is

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The majority agreed that schedule 4 should remain as it is (in parliamentary jargon, they voted that "schedule 4 stand as printed"). This question was put to the Senate after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a motion to oppose the schedule.

What is Schedule 4?

The schedule creates a new fast track form of merits review for certain decisions to refuse to give a protection visa. 'Merits review' is a review of a decision by another body that is based on the merits of the applicant's claim. Effectively, the other body decides whether the decision was good or bad in the circumstances and whether they want to confirm or re-make the decision. This new review process only applies to particular visa applicants, including people who arrived in Australia by boat on or after 13 August 2012 (see 'fast track applicant' in item 1), and will be conducted by the newly created Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA).

The schedule also excludes certain asylum seekers from having access to merits review altogether (see 'excluded fast track review applicant' in item 1).

Senator Hanson-Young said that the schedule "was the most fundamental concern of refugee advocates and lawyers who submitted to the Senate's inquiry into this piece of legislation ... [because] [i]t is stripping away people's ability to ensure that they get a fair hearing".

Read more about the issues raised by the changes in schedule 4 in the bills digest.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 11:01 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Keep schedule 3 as it is

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The majority agreed that schedule 3 should remain as it is (in parliamentary jargon, they voted that "schedule 3 stand as printed"). This question was put to the Senate after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a motion to oppose the schedule.

What is Schedule 3?

The bills digest highlights aspects of the schedule that are particularly significant. On the one hand, the schedule states that regulations can (but don't have to) set out criteria for certain visa types (including permanent and temporary protection visas). On the other, it makes an application for one of those visa types invalid if there aren't any regulations setting out relevant criteria.

So, it's not necessary to set out criteria for these visas in regulations. But, if the Immigration Minister doesn't, then it's not possible for people to make a valid application for those visas.

Senator Hanson-Young was particularly concerned with how this schedule may threaten Parliamentary scrutiny of regulations. If the Minister introduces a regulation that Parliament disagrees with, normally Parliament will vote to disallow that regulation. But under this schedule, disallowing a regulation would make any visa applications relying on it invalid. This puts pressure on Parliament to leave regulations as they are even if it disagrees with them.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a modest majority

4th Dec 2014, 10:17 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Include Minister's promise to increase intake in bill

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The majority did not agree to include a minimum total number of Protection (Class XA) visas and Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visas in the bill. Labor Senator Kim Carr had suggested the amendment, which would have set that number at not less than 18,750.

Background to the motion

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made a commitment to several coss-benchers to increase Australia's humanitarian intake from its current level of 13,750 places to 18,750 places in exchange for their support for the bill. Senator Carr wanted to include this commitment within the text of the bill to make sure that the Government followed through with it.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 9:57 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Government amendments

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The majority agreed with Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash's amendments to "contribute to the overall integrity of the bill and demonstrate the government's willingness to work with stakeholders to pass this critical legislation" (see Senator Cash's full contribution).

What are the amendments?

The amendments cover several aspects of the bill, including allowing temporary protection visa holders to travel outside Australia in compassionate and compelling circumstances, as determined by the Minister (see the explanatory memorandum).

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 8:58 PM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with 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 Senate can now discuss the bill in more detail.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 12:15 AM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority agreed to pass the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they voted in favour of giving the bill a third reading). The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for the Members of Parliament to decide whether they agree with the Senators' amendments. If so, the bill will become law.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 12:11 AM – Senate Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Agree with the amended bill

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The majority agreed with the bill as it has been amended during the Committee stage. This means that the majority want to stop discussing the detail of the bill and now want to vote on whether to pass it in the Senate.

Bill's main idea

The bill's main idea is to speed up the management of asylum seekers' claims and support the Government's policies that stop asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat (for example, by intercepting the boats and turning them around). It also re-introduces temporary protection visas "because the Government is of the view that those who arrive by boat without a valid visa should not be rewarded with permanent protection" (see the bills digest)

Human rights issues

Some of the changes made by the bill may go against Australia's international law obligations. Particularly Australia's non-refoulement obligations, which stop Australia from sending people to places where their lives or freedoms are threatened. Australia has these obligations because it signed up to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

For example, the bill will insert a provision into the Migration Act 1958 that says that Australia’s non-refoulement obligations are not relevant to removing people who are not citizens and don't have a visa. The bills digest explains that this change would mean courts won't be able to stop the Government from removing people just because it is against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. In other words, the Government wants to decide how to apply those obligations by itself, without any potential judicial oversight.

For more about which changes may go against these obligations and how, see the bills digest.

Background to the bill

The title of the bill says it is about "resolving the asylum legacy caseload". This refers to the asylum claims made by asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa between August 2012 and December 2013 and who have not been sent to be processed on Nauru or Manus Island. The Coalition Government says this caseload of asylum claims is the result of the previous Labor Government's policies.

During the 2013 election campaign, the Coalition said it would address this caseload and the changes made in this bill are part of their effort to do this.

More information on the background to the bill is in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

24th Nov 2014, 4:33 PM – Senate Documents — Asylum Seekers; Order for the Production of Documents

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The senate voted in favour of Senator Kim Carr's motion:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, no later than 3.30 pm on Thursday, 27 November 2014, the report of the investigation by Transfield Services of allegations regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in the Manus Island regional processing centre, as referred to in a statement released by the Minister's office on 3 November 2014.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

14th Jul 2014, 3:55 PM – Senate Motions — Asylum Seekers — Disclose information

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The majority voted in favour of part (a) of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) requests that the Government:

(i) update the chamber on operations undertaken on the high seas which relate to the two asylum seeker boats intercepted by Australian authorities in the past 2 weeks, and

(ii) disclose the whereabouts of the 153 people, including 37 children, who are believed to have left India over 3 weeks ago by boat; ...

The second half of this motion, part (b), was voted on immediately after this division.(See the division on part (b) here. )

Background to the motion

The first of the two asylum seeker boats referred to in Senator Hanson-Young's motion carried 41 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, including four Tamils. The boat was intercepted by Australian Customs and their claims for asylum were assessed via teleconference at sea. Only one was found to have a case for seeking asylum, but the Government says they chose to return to Sri Lanka with the others after being told they would be sent to Manus Island or Nauru. All 41 people were transferred to the Sri Lankan navy and are now facing charges in a Sri Lankan Court.(Read more about the 41 people returned to Sri Lanka by Australian Customs here. )

The second vessel referred to in the motion contained 153 asylum seekers, including young children. The boat was also intercepted by Australian Customs but a High Court interim injunction blocked them from transferring the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.(Read more about the High Court interim injunction here. ) The Government has undertaken to give three days' notice before returning the asylum seekers. Currently, the 153 asylum seekers are aboard a Customs vessel in an unknown location and it is unclear whether they will stay there until their case can proceed through the High Court.(Read more about the standoff in the High Court here.)

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "voted a mixture of for and 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 5 250 250
MP voted against policy 6 0 300
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 286 632

*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 = 286 / 632 = 45%.

And then