How David Fawcett voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should respect its citizens' right to privacy and make sure all sensitive information it does have access to (such as medical, census or tax data) is kept secure

Division David Fawcett Supporters vote Division outcome

12th Nov 2018, 3:56 PM – Senate Motions - My Health Record - Extend opt-out period

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale (Vic), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but can be politically influential since they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) members of the community have expressed significant concerns about the inadequate privacy and security provisions currently present in the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 (the bill),

(ii) senators will not have an opportunity to debate the bill until the week beginning 12 November 2018,

(iii) the opt-out period for the My Health Record is currently scheduled to end in the same week, on 15 November 2018, and

(iv) the Federal Government has extended the opt-out period once before, supposedly to allow passage of the bill;

(b) expresses disappointment that the Federal Government has chosen to not follow through on their commitment to the Australian people to strengthen the legislation which governs the My Health Record, meaning that any choices that the Australian people make about opting out will not be sufficiently informed; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to extend or suspend the opt-out period until the legislation and any amendments are passed, outstanding privacy and security concerns are addressed, and public confidence in this important reform is restored.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

20th Sep 2018, 12:27 PM – Senate Motions - Right to Privacy - Protect

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2013, the UN General Assembly affirmed that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online, and it called upon all states to respect and protect the right to privacy in digital communication,

(ii) on 13 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the methods for bulk interception of online communications used by the United Kingdom's (UK) Government Communications Headquarters violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards,

(iii) the ECHR ruled that safeguards must indicate "the nature of offences which may give rise to an interception order; a definition of the categories of people liable to have their communications intercepted; a limit on the duration of interception; the procedure to be followed for examining, using and storing the data obtained; the precautions to be taken when communicating the data to other parties; and the circumstances in which intercepted data may or must be erased or destroyed",

(iv) the legal challenge was brought by Big Brother Watch and Others following revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower, Mr Edward Snowden, in 2013 that intelligence services were covertly intercepting, processing, and storing communications data in bulk, and

(v) Australian mass surveillance laws, including the proposed Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, are based on the UK Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the Snoopers' Charter; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) consider Australia's obligations under the UN Declaration of Human Rights and international laws, including the European General Data Protection Regulation, and

(ii) review Australian privacy and surveillance laws, to ensure Australians' human rights are upheld, including their right to privacy, and that sufficient safeguards are enshrined in legislation.

absent Yes Not 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

18th Jun 2013, 4:07 PM – Senate Motions - PRISM - Australia's vulnerability

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

The motion relates to the use of the surveillance program PRISM by the United States National Security Agency.

Learn more on the ABC News program The World Today.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) revelations that the PRISM program has been used by the United States of America's National Security Agency to conduct warrantless real time surveillance via the servers of nine companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook,

(ii) recent reports suggesting that Australian agencies are receiving information through the PRISM program to access emails, audio and video chats, photographs, documents, connection logs and location data of Australians, and

(iii) that strong concerns have been expressed by the United Kingdom's Intelligence and Security Committee, Canada's Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, and the German Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser Schnarrenberger; and

(b) calls on the Attorney General (Mr Dreyfus) to table in Parliament a ministerial statement of explanation before Thursday, 20 June 2013 on the vulnerability of Australian legislated privacy protections and government information to PRISM.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Feb 2013, 4:11 PM – Senate Motions - National Security Inquiry - Abandon plan to retain data for up to two years

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) less than half of one per cent of Australian organisations and individuals making submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation support the proposal for tailored data retention periods for up to 2 years,(Read the report from that inquiry here.)

(ii) of the total 5 554 submissions made to the inquiry, 25 were explicitly supportive of data retention, 32 submissions were listed as confidential and 34 do not address the issue, leaving 5 463 submissions or 98.9 per cent of submitters from a broad spectrum of Australian society explicitly indicating their opposition to the retention of data for up to 2 years, and

(iii) respondents objected That the proposal to retain data on all Australians for up to 2 years was vaguely and briefly presented, threatens privacy and freedom of expression and posed security risks through potential misuse of preserved data; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) abandon the proposal to retain data on all Australians for up to 2 years due to the public consultation revealing a wide diversity of opposition from across the political spectrum, from industry, lawyers, non-government organisations, information technology experts and the media, and

(ii) propose national security measures that are appropriate, proportionate and strengthen rather than erode human rights standards that are the cornerstone of Australian democracy.


absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted 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 0 0 0
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* 3 3 6
Total: 3 26

*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 = 3 / 26 = 12%.

And then