How Gavin Marshall voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should implement the international conventions that relate to seeking refuge and protection from torture. These include the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and the non-refoulement provisions of the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Division Gavin Marshall Supporters vote Division outcome

6th Feb 2013, 6:32 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Migration Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 5) - Disallow

Show detail

The majority voted against Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's motion to disallow the Migration Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 5). In other words, they voted against getting rid of that Regulation so that it was no longer law.

Senator Hanson-Young explains that this Regulation:

amends the migration regulation so that any person who arrives by boat cannot seek family reunion under the Special Humanitarian Program.

She gives several reasons for why she wanted this Regulation disallowed.

Motion text

That the Migration Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 5), as contained in Select Legislative Instrument 2012 No. 230 and made under the Migration Act 1958, be disallowed.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

28th Nov 2012, 3:53 PM – Senate Motions - Asylum Seekers - Right to work

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. The motion was "That the Senate calls on the Government to give asylum seekers and refugees the legal right to work."

Because the majority voted against the motion, it was unsuccessful.

Background to the motion

Four days before this division took place, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ('UNHCR') criticised the federal government for denying refugees on its new bridging visas.(Read more about the UNHCR's criticisms here. )

Article 17 of the Refugee Convention, which Australia has signed and ratified, states that "Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of a foreign country in the same circumstances, as regards the right to engage in wage-earning employment."(You can read Article 17 here. ) This means that Australia is arguably breaching the Convention by preventing refugees and asylum seekers the right to work.(Read more about Australia's breach of the Refugee Convention in respect of the right to work on Crikey here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

16th Aug 2012, 8:31 PM – Senate Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Protection and welfare arrangements

Show detail

The majority voted against an amendment proposed by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

This amendment would require that the Immigration Minister consider the Australian national interest and obligations under international law. Additionally, this amendment would require that asylum seekers will:

  • be treated in a manner consistent with human rights standards under international law
  • have appropriate accommodation
  • have access to appropriate physical and mental health services
  • have access to educational and vocational training programs
  • be provided with assistance in preparing any asylum claim or visa application
  • be able to appeal asylum claim or visa application decisions

This amendment would also require that the protection and welfare arrangements in place in the processing country are monitored by a body consisting of representatives of Australia and the country.

Someone who votes aye for this amendment supports these measures. The majority voted no to this amendment, so it was unsuccessful.

Background to the bill

This bill was originally introduced in the House of Representatives as the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011. It was drafted in response to the High Court's judgement in Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship () HCA 32, which put an end to the Labor Government's Malaysia Solution policy.(Read more about the decision on Wikipedia here and on ABC News here. Read more about the effect of this decision on the Malaysia Solution here.)

To this end, the bill amends the Migration Act 1958 to replace the existing framework for taking offshore entry persons to another country for assessment of their claims to be refugees. The bill also replaces discretionary detention with mandatory detention for all asylum seekers at an offshore place, such as Christmas Island, and alters the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 in relation to making and implementing any decision to remove, deport or take a non-citizen child from Australia by overriding the guardianship obligations under that Act.

References

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

28th Jun 2012, 5:05 PM – Senate Migration Legislation Amendment (The Bali Process) Bill 2012 - Second Reading - Greens Amendment

Show detail

The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne.

Among other things, the amendments would have increased Australia's refugee intake, increased funding to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and call for Australia to enter discussions with Indonesia relating to refugees.

Someone who votes aye in this division supports these amendments. The majority voted no in this amendment so it was unsuccessful.

Background to Bill

The bill was introduced by Independent MP Rob Oakeshott in response to the High Court's decision in Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship () HCA 32, which put an end to the Labor Government's Malaysia Solution policy.(Read more about the decision on Wikipedia here and on ABC News here. Read more about the effect of this decision on the Malaysia Solution here. )

To this end, the bill amends the Migration Act 1958 to replace the existing framework for taking offshore entry persons to another country to assess their refugee claims.(More information about this bill and context can be found here.) It also amends the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 in relation to making and implementing any decision to remove, deport or take a non-citizen child from Australia. However, these amendments would only have effect for a period of 12 months.

By making these amendments, the bill attempts to codify the Bali Process into domestic law.

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

11th Oct 2011 – Senate Motions - Asylum Seekers - International refugee obligations

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes the current dismal state of debate on asylum seeker policy in Australia with:

(i)   the Prime Minister ( Ms Gillard) calling the Leader of the Opposition ( Mr Abbott) hypocritical, and

(ii)   the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Abbott) calling the Prime Minister (Ms Gillard) hypocritical; and

(b)   calls for Australia's international refugee obligations to be respected.(Australia's international refugee obligations stem from refugee law and specifically the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees ('Refugees Convention') and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees ('Refugees Protocol').)

References

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

17th Jun 2010, 9:47 AM – Senate Motions - World Refugee Day - Concerns about policies

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that:

(i) 20 June 2010 marks World Refugee Day 2010,

(ii) the global theme for 2010 is ‘Home’, in recognition of the plight of more than 40 million uprooted people around the world, and

(iii) as a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Geneva Convention Relating to the Status on Refugees, Australia is obliged to protect those seeking asylum from persecution;

(b) notes, with concern:

(i) the Government’s commitment to reopening desert detention centres across the country, and

(ii) the effect that the suspension of processing claims for asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will have on the mental health of some of the worlds most vulnerable; and

(c) calls on the Government to immediately lift the imposed suspension and process all claims for asylum, irrespective of race or ethnicity.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

12th May 2010, 3:52 PM – Senate Motions - Suspension of processing Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum claims

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was unsuccessful.

The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the recent decision by the Rudd Government to suspend the processing of asylum claims from Sri Lankan and Afghan nationals for 3 and 6 months respectively, and(Read more about this policy on SBS News and on ABC's The World Today and on Wikipedia. )

(ii) in 2009, Australia received just 1.6 per cent of all asylum claims lodged in the world’s 44 industrialised nations, with less than half of this number arriving by boat;

(b) recognises that this new policy is in breach of Australia’s international obligations under the:

(i) United Nations Refugee Convention,

(ii) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and

(iii) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

(c) congratulates the joint statement from 45 non-government organisations from 16 countries, in condemning the Australian Government’s decision to suspend the processing of asylum claims for Sri Lankans and Afghans; and(Read more about this joint statement here.)

(d) calls on the Government to immediately reverse its suspension of asylum applications, restoring the right of people seeking protection from persecution to have their claims assessed in a fair and timely manner.

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

3rd Feb 2010, 3:49 PM – Senate Motions - Tamil Asylum Seekers - End standoff

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means the motion failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) more than 240 Tamil asylum seekers remain on their boat in the Indonesian port of Merak, in increasingly squalid conditions after more than 3 months, and

(ii) this boat was intercepted by Indonesia at Australia’s request in October 2009;

(b) recognises:

(i) of the 240 on board, 100 have been found to be genuine refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, yet they are afraid to leave the boat under the threat of removal to Indonesian detention centres, and

(ii) Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; and

(c) calls on the Government to immediately step in and end the standoff over the Tamil asylum-seekers who have been left in squalid conditions on a boat at Merak, Indonesia for 115 days.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Oct 2009, 3:50 PM – Senate Motions - Asylum Seekers - Language and law

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) recognises each senator’s role as community leaders and the collective responsibility to conduct debates on matters of public importance in a respectful and accurate manner, using language that is constructive and appropriate; and

(b) agrees that all debate on the issue of asylum seekers and border protection is framed within the law, terms and definitions of the:

(a) United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951);

(b) Migration Act 1958;

(c) Criminal Code Act 1995;

(d) Racial Discrimination Act 1975; and

(e) Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

26th Feb 2007, 5:03 PM – Senate Matters of Urgency - Asylum Seekers - Non-refoulment

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett (Qld), which means it failed.

Motion text

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The need for the Australian government to unequivocally guarantee that the latest group of boat people, reportedly including 83 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, will immediately have access to independent assistance, have their refugee claims assessed openly and fairly and will not be subjected to the risk of refoulment, consistent with our international obligations.

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

20th Jun 2006, 4:05 PM – Senate Motions - World Refugee Day - Refugee Convention

Show detail

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. This means that the motion is rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 20 June 2006 is World Refugee Day and the day’s theme is ‘keeping the flame of hope alive’,

(ii) there are more than 19 million refugees and 5.5 million internally displaced people in the world looking for protection,

(iii) many countries assist hundreds of thousands of refugees who have no choice but to flee persecution,

(iv) the Government has changed its policy, breaching the Refugee Convention, in response to the arrival of 43 refugees, and(Senator Nettle is referring to an incident where 43 West Papuan asylum seekers sought asylum in Australia. To read more about the incident see here and to read more about the Government's response see here.)

(v) the Government’s new policy will mean many asylum seekers who arrive by boat are exiled to Nauru or Manus Island; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) drop its policy of appeasing Indonesia and ensure Australia’s refugee laws conform fully with the Refugee Convention, and

(ii) consider increasing Australia’s intake of refugees and offer asylum seekers real hope, durable solutions and significantly improved settlement services.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately 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 4 200 200
MP voted against policy 1 0 50
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 5 50 50
MP voted against policy 9 0 90
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 8 8 16
Total: 283 456

*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 = 283 / 456 = 62%.

And then