How Ian Macdonald voted compared to someone who believes that Strong encryption technologies are critical and necessary enablers of communications and commerce. Strong encryption technologies should not be restricted, back-doored, undermined or crippled by law.

Division Ian Macdonald 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 No 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 No Passed by a modest majority

15th Aug 2018, 4:06 PM – Senate Motions - Digital Encryption - Warrant and privacy

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John (WA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) on 27 March 2018, the Senate passed a motion recognising the importance of strong digital encryption in protecting the personal and financial information of Australians, in preventing identity theft and other crime, and in ensuring that public interest whistleblowers, journalists, and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,

(ii) on 31 July 2018, the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) made a statement that 'My Health Record' legislation will be amended to "ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order" ,

(iii) on 14 August 2018, the Government released draft legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant in order to search electronic devices and access content on those devices, and

(iv) currently, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, law enforcement agencies can access telecommunications metadata without a warrant; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) extend the requirement for a warrant to metadata, and collection and interception of all communications of Australians, for consistency and to uphold Australians' right to privacy,

(ii) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies, and

(iii) not actively undermine encryption and privacy by introducing legislation that compels telecommunications and information technology companies to break encryption or introduce weaknesses into communications systems or devices used by Australians.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

23rd Feb 2016, 4:00 PM – Senate Motions - Digital Encryption - Develop technology

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. The motion called for further development of strong encryption technologies, while resisting the move to weaken encryption on personal devices.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) strong digital encryption protects the personal and financial information of millions of people,

(ii) encryption is an important tool to prevent identity theft and other crime,

(iii) encryption ensures that public interest whistleblowers, journalists and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,

(iv) the Government, through services such as Medicare and Centrelink, and digital platforms such as myGov, depends on encryption to keep client information safe, and

(v) any decrease in public trust in digital systems and services will present an obstacle to the Government's agile innovation agenda; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies,

(ii) resist any push from other governments to weaken encryption on personal devices, and

(iii) work with law enforcement to develop alternative avenues to obtain information through warrants and targeted surveillance that does not put every Australian at greater risk of identity theft.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

14th Nov 2013, 11:34 AM – Senate Motions - Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Reference - Surveillance

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The majority voted against a motion to refer certain surveillance related matters to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. The motion was introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

Motion text

That the following matters be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 10 June 2014:

(a) the implications of revelations regarding surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data by the US National Security Agency and other agencies for the Australian government, businesses and citizens, including risks to:

(i) Australian citizens' fundamental human right to privacy, freedom of expression, the presumption of innocence and the protection of data,

(ii) Australia's diplomatic relationships in the region, and

(iii) increased compliance costs and risks to business through the undermining of confidence in the security of commercial data and encryption standards;

(b) appropriate measures to address, mitigate or eliminate these risks; and

(c) any other relevant matters.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted very strongly 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 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 2 2 4
Total: 2 74

*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 = 2 / 74 = 2.7%.

And then