How Joe Ludwig voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should make it an offence punishable by imprisonment for Immigration and Border Protection employees, consultants and contractors to record or disclose information that they obtained while working in Australia's immigration detention centres

Division Joe Ludwig Supporters vote Division outcome

14th May 2015, 3:43 PM – Senate Australian Border Force Bill 2015 and related bill - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority agreed to pass the bills in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they voted in favour of giving the bills a third reading). The bills 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 bills will become law.

You can follow the bills progress through Parliament on the bills' websites (see under 'External links').

How to find out more about the bills

Go to the bills digest to learn more about what the bills do and what issues they raise.

Controversy

Clause 42 of the Australian Border Force Bill 2015 makes it an offence for an "entrusted person" (which includes Immigration and Border Protection workers) to make a record of confidential information or to disclose confidential information. See the bills digest for more information about the exceptions to this offence.

Comments in the media have suggested that this clause could lead to doctors being charged under this offence for revealing conditions in detention centres.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

14th May 2015, 1:58 PM – Senate Australian Border Force Bill 2015 and related bill - in Committee - Public interest amendment

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it was unsuccessful.

What did the amendment do?

This amendment relates to Clause 42 of the Australian Border Force Bill 2015, which makes it an offence for an "entrusted person" (which includes Immigration and Border Protection workers) to make a record of confidential information or to disclose confidential information.

Senator Hanson-Young explained her amendment:

The amendment I have circulated deals very specifically with that. It is very simple. It is not saying that everyone can go and blow their whistles as much as they want; it is saying that if there is any type of offence then it needs to be tested against the public interest. That is a decision that the courts should make. It is not a decision for the minister. ... This amendment is important to ensure that there is an independent arbiter, and it must be the courts that stand up for the right of the public service and the right of the Australian people to know what is in the public interest and what information their government is trying to hide from them.

Background to the amendment

Senator Hanson-Young's amendment reflects previous recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in 2010 in respect to a similar provision int he Crimes Act that applies generally to Commonwealth public servants. Just like Senator Hanson-Young's amendment, the ALRC had recommended that criminal sanctions in law should only apply where disclosure of information would or would likely harm an identifiable public interest. However, those recommendations have yet to be acted on.

Amendment text

(1) Clause 42, page 35 (after line 13), after paragraph (1)(b), insert:

(ba) the making of the record, or the disclosure, causes, is likely to cause, or is intended to cause, harm to a public interest.

How to find out more about the bills

Go to the bills digest to learn more about what the bills do and what issues they raise.

No No Not 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 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 60 60

*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 = 60 / 60 = 100%.

And then