How Wendy Askew voted compared to someone who believes that there should be more scrutiny or oversight of the actions and powers of Australian intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP)

Division Wendy Askew Supporters vote Division outcome

12th Aug 2021, 12:53 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Sunsetting Review and Other Measures) Bill 2021 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to pass the bill. In other words, they voted to read it for a third time, which means that the bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for their consideration.

What does the bill do?

According to the bill homepage, the bill was introduced:

  • to extend the operation of the declared areas provisions for a further 3 years and the control order regime and the preventative detention orders (PDO) regime for a further 15 months;
  • to provide that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security may review the operation, effectiveness and proportionality of the declared areas provisions prior to their sunset date;
  • to extend the operation of the stop, search and seizure powers for a further 15 months; and
  • to extend the reporting date for the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor’s review of continuing detention orders for high risk terrorist offenders to as soon as practicable after 7 December 2021.
Yes No Passed by a modest majority

16th Jun 2021, 11:06 AM – Senate Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2020 - in Committee - Oversight of ACIC

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The majority voted against amendment (1) on sheet 1099, introduced by NSW Senator Kristina Keneally (Labor), which means it failed.

What did the amendment do?

Senator Keneally explained that:

this is an amendment that seeks to expand the role of IGIS [Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security], the independent inspector, to include oversight of the ACIC [Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission]. This was recommended by the 2017 intelligence review. Despite the government claiming to accept that recommendation, it's taken over three years to finally introduce legislation to implement it. But they have continued to give the ACIC new functions and new powers. Given the nature of the ACIC's work and the potential impact it can have on fundamental rights and freedoms, this amendment seeks to ensure the ACIC's intelligence related work is subject to the same degree of rigorous oversight as that of other intelligence agencies.

What does the bill do?

The bill was introduced in order to:

  • prevent the use of aviation and maritime transport or offshore facilities in connection with serious crime;
  • establish a regulatory framework to implement harmonised eligibility criteria for the aviation security identification card (ASIC) and maritime security identification card (MSIC) schemes;
  • clarify and align the legislative basis for undertaking security checking of ASIC and MSIC applicants and holders;
  • provide for regulations to prescribe penalties for offences; and
  • insert an additional severability provision to provide guidance to a court as to Parliament’s intention.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

10th Dec 2020, 1:09 PM – Senate Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the Senate. Because the bill has already passed in the House of Representatives, it can now become law.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act to replace the existing framework for questioning warrants and questioning and detention warrants with a revised questioning warrant framework, make related changes to the Act and other legislation, and amend provisions in the Act relating to the use of surveillance devices.

Changes include:

  • expanding the purposes of questioning from terrorism offences to politically motivated violence, espionage and foreign interference
  • lowering the minimum age for the subject of a warrant from 16 to 14 years of age
  • having the Attorney-General issue warrants directly in place of an issuing authority
  • allowing for requests for warrants to be made, and warrants to be issued, orally in some circumstances
  • creating a new framework to allow the use of certain tracking devices by ASIO with internal authorisation from higher level officers (currently the use of such devices requires a warrant)
Yes No Passed by a modest majority

10th Dec 2020, 1:04 PM – Senate Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 - in Committee - Oversight

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by SA Senator Rex Patrick (Independent), which means they failed.

What did these amendment do?

According to Senator Patrick, the amendments:

propose that the parliament expand the mandate of the PJCIS to include review of intelligence agency operations and not be limited to scrutiny of just administrative and financial matters.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act to replace the existing framework for questioning warrants and questioning and detention warrants with a revised questioning warrant framework, make related changes to the Act and other legislation, and amend provisions in the Act relating to the use of surveillance devices.

Changes include:

  • expanding the purposes of questioning from terrorism offences to politically motivated violence, espionage and foreign interference
  • lowering the minimum age for the subject of a warrant from 16 to 14 years of age
  • having the Attorney-General issue warrants directly in place of an issuing authority
  • allowing for requests for warrants to be made, and warrants to be issued, orally in some circumstances
  • creating a new framework to allow the use of certain tracking devices by ASIO with internal authorisation from higher level officers (currently the use of such devices requires a warrant)
No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

10th Dec 2020, 12:48 PM – Senate Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a second time. In other words, they voted to agree with the main idea of the bill. The Senate can now consider the bill in more detail.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act to replace the existing framework for questioning warrants and questioning and detention warrants with a revised questioning warrant framework, make related changes to the Act and other legislation, and amend provisions in the Act relating to the use of surveillance devices.

Changes include:

  • expanding the purposes of questioning from terrorism offences to politically motivated violence, espionage and foreign interference
  • lowering the minimum age for the subject of a warrant from 16 to 14 years of age
  • having the Attorney-General issue warrants directly in place of an issuing authority
  • allowing for requests for warrants to be made, and warrants to be issued, orally in some circumstances
  • creating a new framework to allow the use of certain tracking devices by ASIO with internal authorisation from higher level officers (currently the use of such devices requires a warrant)
Yes No Passed by a modest majority

3rd Sep 2020, 4:35 PM – Senate Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Cessation) Bill 2020 - in Committee - PJCIS oversight

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by South Australian Senator Rex Patrick (Independent), which means they failed. According to Senator Patrick:

this is an amendment that seeks to enable the PJCIS [Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security] to have operational oversight of our intelligence services.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, page 19 (after line 25) , after the heading specifying Intelligence Services Act 2001 , insert:

14A Paragraph 29(1) (a)

After "to review the", insert "activities,".

(2) Schedule 1, Part 1, page 20 (after line 2), at the end of the Part, add:

15A Subsections 29(3) and (4)

Repeal the subsections, substitute:

(3) The functions of the Committee do not include:

(a) reviewing information provided by, or by an agency of, a foreign government where that government does not consent to the disclosure of the information; or

(b) conducting inquiries into individual complaints about the activities of ASIO, ASIS, AGO, DIO, ASD, ONI, AFP or the Immigration and Border Protection Department.

15B After section 29

Insert:

29A Ceasing or suspending review of agency activities

(1) If:

(a) the Committee undertakes a review under section 29 of an activity by ASIO, ASIS, AGO, DIO, ASD or ONI; and

(b) the relevant responsible Minister is of the opinion that:

(i) the activity is an ongoing operation; and

(ii) the review would interfere with the proper performance by the relevant body of its functions or otherwise prejudice Australia's national security or the conduct of Australia's foreign relations;

the Minister may give to the Committee a certificate in relation to the matter stating the Minister's opinion and the reasons for it.

(2) A decision of the Minister under subsection (1) must not be questioned in any court or tribunal.

(3) Where the Minister gives a certificate under subsection (1) in relation to a review, the Committee must cease or suspend the review.

(4) If the Minister:

(a) becomes aware that the activity is no longer ongoing; or

(b) is no longer of the opinion that the review would interfere with the proper performance by the relevant body of its functions or otherwise prejudice Australia's national security or the conduct of Australia's foreign relations;

the Minister must, within 28 days after becoming aware of the fact or forming the view:

(c) revoke the certificate; and

(d) inform the Committee in writing.

(5) If the Minister revokes a certificate in accordance with subsection (4), the Committee may proceed with the review, or commence a new review into the activity.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

5th Dec 2019, 4:45 PM – Senate Australian Crime Commission Amendment (Special Operations and Special Investigations) Bill 2019 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of agreeing to the remaining stages of the bill, which means it passed. Since the bill had already been passed in the House of Representatives, it will now become law.

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest, the bill was introduced in order to:

  • respond to concern about the validity of certain ACIC determinations and other documents raised in the case of CXXXVIII v Commonwealth by confirming the validity of current and former Australian Crime Commission (ACC) special operations and special investigations, the lawfulness of which has been questioned and
  • amend the process by which the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Board authorises future special operations and special investigations, including by amending the threshold of which it must be satisfied.

Although the bill does not expand or alter the powers available to ACIC, parties like the Centre Alliance were concerned by the retroactive nature of the bill. That is, it will confirm the validity of current and former special operations and special investigations at a time when the High Court is considering the validity of these laws in the context of an alleged unlawful investigation.

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

5th Dec 2019, 4:42 PM – Senate Australian Crime Commission Amendment (Special Operations and Special Investigations) Bill 2019 - Third Reading - Retroactive application

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to keep subitem (2) of item 53 and items 54 to 56 of schedule 1 stand as printed, which is parliamentary jargon for keeping those items unchanged. This motion was put after the Centre Alliance moved that those items should be opposed.

The items listed above relate to the retroactive aspects of the bill (see information below).

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest, the bill was introduced in order to:

  • respond to concern about the validity of certain ACIC determinations and other documents raised in the case of CXXXVIII v Commonwealth by confirming the validity of current and former Australian Crime Commission (ACC) special operations and special investigations, the lawfulness of which has been questioned and
  • amend the process by which the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Board authorises future special operations and special investigations, including by amending the threshold of which it must be satisfied.

Although the bill does not expand or alter the powers available to ACIC, parties like the Centre Alliance were concerned by the retroactive nature of the bill. That is, it will confirm the validity of current and former special operations and special investigations at a time when the High Court is considering the validity of these laws in the context of an alleged unlawful investigation.

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

5th Dec 2019, 4:34 PM – Senate Australian Crime Commission Amendment (Special Operations and Special Investigations) Bill 2019 - Third Reading - Statutory review

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The majority voted against amendment (1), which was introduced by the Centre Alliance, which means it failed. The amendment would have required an independent review of this bill's amendments after a period of 12 months.

Amendment text

(1) Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, insert:

4 Review of this Act

(1) The Minister must cause an independent review to be conducted of the operation of the amendments made by this Act.

(2) The review must be commenced as soon as practicable after the end of 12 months after this Act commences.

(3) The persons who conduct the review must give the Minister a written report of the review within 6 months of the commencement of the review.

(4) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is given to the Minister.

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest, the bill was introduced in order to:

  • respond to concern about the validity of certain ACIC determinations and other documents raised in the case of CXXXVIII v Commonwealth by confirming the validity of current and former Australian Crime Commission (ACC) special operations and special investigations, the lawfulness of which has been questioned and
  • amend the process by which the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Board authorises future special operations and special investigations, including by amending the threshold of which it must be satisfied.

Although the bill does not expand or alter the powers available to ACIC, parties like the Centre Alliance were concerned by the retroactive nature of the bill. That is, it will confirm the validity of current and former special operations and special investigations at a time when the High Court is considering the validity of these laws in the context of an alleged unlawful investigation.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

5th Dec 2019, 1:55 PM – Senate Australian Crime Commission Amendment (Special Operations and Special Investigations) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time, which means they can now discuss the bill in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

According to the bills digest, the bill was introduced in order to:

  • respond to concern about the validity of certain ACIC determinations and other documents raised in the case of CXXXVIII v Commonwealth by confirming the validity of current and former Australian Crime Commission (ACC) special operations and special investigations, the lawfulness of which has been questioned and
  • amend the process by which the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Board authorises future special operations and special investigations, including by amending the threshold of which it must be satisfied.

Although the bill does not expand or alter the powers available to ACIC, parties like the Centre Alliance were concerned by the retroactive nature of the bill. That is, it will confirm the validity of current and former special operations and special investigations at a time when the High Court is considering the validity of these laws in the context of an alleged unlawful investigation.

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

4th Dec 2019, 12:09 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bill. 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 bill was introduced to:

  • Expand the existing presumption against bail for persons charged with or convicted of certain Commonwealth offences to include a broader group of individuals, including those that a bail authority is satisfied have made statements or carried out activities supporting terrorist acts or advocating support for terrorist acts; and also apply it to bail decisions in relation to other Commonwealth offences if a person was previously charged with or convicted of certain offences
  • Introduce a presumption against parole that will apply in similar circumstances to the expanded presumption against bail
  • Provide an exception to the minimum non-parole period for certain offences, where an offender is under 18 years of age and exceptional circumstances exist
  • Provide that in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist to justify going against the presumption against bail or parole, or setting a shorter non-parole period, in relation to a person under 18 years of age a court must have regard to certain matters
  • Expand the eligibility for the continuing detention order (CDO) scheme for high risk terrorist offenders by ensuring that terrorist offenders who are imprisoned for a terrorism offence and another offence remain eligible for consideration for a CDO at the conclusion of the term of their imprisonment and
  • Remove the requirement for an individual in relation to whom an application has been made for a CDO to be provided with a complete copy of the application in certain circumstances.
Yes No Passed by a modest majority

15th Oct 2019, 6:31 PM – Senate Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2019 - in Committee - Do not insist on amendments

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The same number of senators voted for and against the following motion:

That the committee does not insist on its amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed.

Because of a quirk of procedure, Deputy President and WA Senator Sue Lines (Labor) explained that:

This means that the committee does not insist upon its amendments and the bill has proceeded without them. This is in line with precedents listed on page 342 of the current edition of Odgers' Australian Senate Practice.

Yes No Not passed

14th Oct 2019, 8:23 PM – Senate Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2019 - in Committee - Add a sunset provision

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The majority voted in favour of an amendment introduced by South Australian Senator Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), which means it succeeded. The bill will now need to be returned to the House of Representatives, where our MPs will decide on whether they agree with this amendment or not.

The amendment will introduce a sunset provision into the bill so that the new powers will need to be reconsidered once four years have passed. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is will be conducting a review of this legislation in three years time, so Parliament should have the benefit of that review by that time.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (before line 8), before section 3UL, insert:

3ULA Expiration of this Division

This Division is repealed at the start of the day after the end of the period of 4 years beginning on the day the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Act 2019 commenced.

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2019 (the 2019 Bill) will amend the Crimes Act 1914 to:

  • expand existing police powers to require identity information from a person at a major airport
  • introduce new move-on powers for police under which they may give a written direction to a person at a major airport that the person not take a flight, or leave the airport as soon as possible
  • introduce new powers for police to give a direction to a person at a major airport that the person stop or do anything else considered necessary to facilitate the exercise of the identity information request or move-on powers and
  • allow the Minister to determine by legislative instrument that certain airports are major airports for the purposes of the exercise of powers outlined above.

While the existing identity-checking power may only be exercised by a constable, the expanded and new powers in the Bill will be available to constables and Australian Federal Police (AFP) protective service officers (PSOs). Contravening a direction will be an offence.

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

1st Aug 2019, 11:34 AM – Senate Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment (Sunsetting of Special Powers Relating to Terrorism Offences) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time. This means that the senators can now discuss the bill in greater detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

This bill was introduced to extend the operation of certain special powers relating to suspected terrorism offences to 7 September 2020. Currently, those powers are due to sunset (that is, stop being part of our law) on 7 September 2019.

What are the special powers?

The special powers extended by this bill are the power to issue questioning warrants (QWs) and questioning and detention warrants (QDWs) in relation to suspected terrorism offences. They are extraordinary because they can be issued in relation to someone even though they are not suspected of, or charged with, any offence. In other words, these warrants are an intelligence-gathering and preventative power. Someone might be subject to these warrants because they can provide information about a potential terrorism offence and they may be detained in order to prevent them from damaging evidence or alerting someone involved in a terrorism offence that their actions are being investigated.

These powers have been extended several times since they were first introduced in 2002. More information is available in the bills digest.

Yes No Passed by a large majority

25th Jul 2019, 4:19 PM – Senate Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019, Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 - in Committee - Oversight

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by SA Senator Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), which means it failed.

What would the amendments do?

Senator Patrick explained that:

The amendment will amend the Intelligence Services Act to remove most, although not all, the current legislative constraints on the scope of the [Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security]'s inquiries, and would allow the committee to review the operational performance of our intelligence agencies—a vital aspect of any effective scrutiny regime. The proposed amendment to the role of the PJCIS does retain existing prohibitions on:

… reviewing information provided by, or by an agency of, a foreign government where that government does not consent to the disclosure of the information; …

It also retains the prohibition on conducting inquiries into individual complaints about the activities of designated intelligence and national security agencies, as those complaints are appropriately dealt with by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted almost always 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 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 13 0 130
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 26 182

*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 = 26 / 182 = 14%.

And then