How Lisa Singh voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should ensure that refugees in Australia are able to apply for family reunification visas so that their families can join them in Australia

Division Lisa Singh Supporters vote Division outcome

19th Mar 2015, 1:58 PM – Senate Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Family protection visas

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The majority voted in favour of keeping section 91WB unchanged.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young explained why the Greens wanted the section to be opposed (that is, they were voting 'No' in this vote as they wanted it changed):

This goes to the issue of family reunion. The Greens have for a long time been very concerned with the continuing trend under this government but also, admittedly, the previous government to make family reunion for asylum seekers and refugees in this country harder and harder.

She argued that this section are going to put children, particularly unaccompanied children, at greater risk.

What is section 91WB?

91WB Application for protection visa by member of same family unit

(1) This section applies to a non-citizen in Australia (the family applicant):

(a) who applies for a protection visa; and

(b) who is a member of the same family unit as a person (the family visa holder) who has been granted a protection visa.

(2) Despite anything else in this Act, the Minister must not grant the protection visa to the family applicant on the basis of a criterion mentioned in paragraph 36(2)(b) or (c) unless the family applicant applies for the protection visa before the family visa holder is granted a protection visa.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a modest majority

19th Mar 2015 – Senate Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted in favour of reading the bill for a second time. Now the Senate can discuss the bill in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

The purpose of the bill is to make changes, such as:

  • making it so that the asylum seeker has the responsibility to specify all particulars of a protection claim and provide sufficient evidence to substantiate such claims (basically, the onus is on the asylum seeker)
  • creating grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant refuses or fails to establish their identity, nationality or citizenship, and does not have a reasonable explanation for doing so
  • create grounds to refuse a protection visa application when an applicant provides "bogus" documents to establish their identity or either destroys or discards identity evidence, or has caused that evidence to be destroyed or discarded
  • clarify that a family member of a protection visa holder cannot be granted a protection visa on the basis of being a family member if they apply after the initial visa has been granted

Read more about the bill's main idea in the bills digest.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

17th Jul 2014, 2:21 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Migration Amendment (2014 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2014 - Disallow

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The majority voted against a motion to disallow Migration Amendment (2014 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2014. In other words, they wanted the Regulation to keep having legal force.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who introduced the motion, explained:

The Migration Amendment (2014 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2014 includes a number of elements. It is primarily about punishing vulnerable children who have arrived in Australia on their own, some orphaned, without families, and others who have had to leave their family in escaping war, torture and persecution. Those children who are now already in Australia—who have been found to be genuine refugees, who we have acknowledged, after proper assessment, need and deserve Australia's protection—are being punished through this regulation by the government in removing the special criterion which applied to them in being able to be reunited with their families. The regulation applies to children who, as I have said, are already here.

Motion text

That the Migration Amendment (2014 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2014, as contained in Select Legislative Instrument 2014 No. 32 and made under the Migration Act 1958, be disallowed.

Yes Yes (strong) Not 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 1 50 50
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 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 51 102

*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 = 51 / 102 = 50%.

And then