Summary

Edit

The majority supported the bill's secrecy provisions, which means they disagreed with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's amendments that they should be opposed.

These secrecy provisions include deleting subsection 35P(1) from the bill, which would make it an offence punishable by five years' imprisonment for a person to disclose information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO) (see Senator Ludlam's explanation of these amendments).

Human rights issues

The bill makes many important changes, which the bills digest discusses in some detail. In particular, it extends the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

The bill also creates new offences that apply to any person who discloses information that relates to a special intelligence operation (SIO), with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Two concerns with these offences are that:

  • they don't have exceptions for public interest disclosures or whistleblowing by ASIO employees, and
  • they apply to any person, including journalists.

Background to the bill

After the major counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the balance between freedom and security had to shift (see ABC News). This bill is part of that change.

The bill also seems to be a response to American Edward Snowden leaking classified American intelligence information last year.

Read the bills digest for more information about the bill.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (90% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Absent
Australian Labor Party (63% turnout) 0 Yes 15 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Joe Bullock WA No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Sue Lines WA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Sam Dastyari NSW Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Kate Lundy ACT Absent
Nova Peris NT Absent
Lisa Singh Tasmania Absent
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President Absent
Bob Day SA Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
John Madigan Victoria Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (40% turnout) 0 Yes 10 No
Christopher Back WA No
Cory Bernardi SA No
George Brandis Queensland No
David Fawcett SA No
Bill Heffernan NSW No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
David Bushby Tasmania Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Sean Edwards SA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Mitch Fifield Victoria Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania No
Glenn Lazarus Queensland No
Dio Wang WA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Absent
Totals (63% turnout) 12 Yes – 36 No