How Anne Ruston voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should issue instructions for border protection forces to turn back boats carrying asylum seekers to Australia where it is safe to do so

Division Anne Ruston Supporters vote Division outcome

29th Mar 2017 – Senate Motions - Asylum Seekers - End detention on Nauru and Manus Island

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The majority rejected a motion that called for an end to immigration detention on Nauru and Manus Island, which means it wasn't passed. The motion was introduced by Greens Senator Nick McKim (Tas).

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Australia's offshore processing is a deliberately cruel policy that has created a humanitarian crisis,

(ii) men, women and children who have sought asylum have suffered immeasurable harm at Australia's hands, including death, psychological trauma and serious injuries,

(iii) the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr Juan Mendez, concluded Australia had "violated the right of the asylum seekers, including children, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment",

(iv) Amnesty International says the Nauru detention centre was "explicitly designed to inflict incalculable damage on hundreds of women, men and children",

(v) indefinite offshore detention has led to global condemnation and a lowering of Australia's international standing,

(vi) despite the Manus Island processing centre being declared illegal by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court in April 2016, the Australian Government has failed to resettle people in its care and forcibly deported an unknown number of people from Papua New Guinea,

(vii) the Department of Immigration and Border Protection says the cost of establishing and running offshore detention has exceeded $4.4 billion since 2013,

(viii) the Australian National Audit Office found that it costs $573,000 per person per year to keep people locked up in offshore detention,

(ix) despite the massive human and financial cost of this policy, that boats carrying people seeking asylum continue to attempt to reach Australia,

(x) many of these asylum seekers have been turned around to meet an unknown fate at sea or potentially refouled, contrary to Australia's international legal and moral obligations, and

(xi) despite the Australian Government's so-called "deal" with the United States, no one has been resettled in that country; and

(b) calls on the Government to end offshore detention, and bring every man woman and child, detained on Papua New Guinea and Nauru, to Australia.

No No Not passed by a large 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 Yes (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 Yes (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 Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

12th Sep 2012, 11:40 AM – Senate Motions — Republic of Nauru - Coalition policies

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash. This would have amended a previous motion(See the division on that motion here. ) with the following:

At the end of the motion, add “and in addition to the opening of offshore processing on Nauru, calls on the Government to implement the full suite of the Coalition’s successful border protection policies and:

(a) restore temporary protection visas as the only visa option available to be granted to offshore entry persons found to be refugees;

(b) issue new instructions to Northern Command to commence to turn back boats seeking to illegally enter Australia where it is safe to do so;(FactCheck on ABC discussed whether it is illegal to turn back boats in international waters to Indonesia here. )

(c) use existing law to remove the benefit of the doubt on a person’s identity where there is a reasonable belief that a person has deliberately discarded their documentation; and

(d) restore the Bali Process to once again focus on deterrence and border security”.

There was one rebel voter in this division. Labor Senator Lin Thorp crossed the floor to vote with the Coalition.(Read more about crossing the floor here.) However, Senator Thorp subsequently sought leave to make a personal statement that "I apologise that I rushed in and inadvertently sat on the wrong side of the chamber during the division". This suggests that the Senator did not intend to cross the floor.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small 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 3 150 150
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 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 170 170

*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 = 170 / 170 = 100%.

And then