How Kim Carr voted compared to someone who believes that staff of government agencies should need a warrant before being able to access the telecommunications records of citizens

Division Kim Carr Supporters vote Division outcome

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

23rd Feb 2016, 4:00 PM – Senate Motions - Digital Encryption - Develop technology

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. The motion called for further development of strong encryption technologies, while resisting the move to weaken encryption on personal devices.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) strong digital encryption protects the personal and financial information of millions of people,

(ii) encryption is an important tool to prevent identity theft and other crime,

(iii) encryption ensures that public interest whistleblowers, journalists and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,

(iv) the Government, through services such as Medicare and Centrelink, and digital platforms such as myGov, depends on encryption to keep client information safe, and

(v) any decrease in public trust in digital systems and services will present an obstacle to the Government's agile innovation agenda; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies,

(ii) resist any push from other governments to weaken encryption on personal devices, and

(iii) work with law enforcement to develop alternative avenues to obtain information through warrants and targeted surveillance that does not put every Australian at greater risk of identity theft.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

16th Jun 2015, 4:18 PM – Senate Motions — Unlawful Bulk Data Collection — Recognise Edward Snowden's work

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The majority of senators voted against the following motion by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the United States (US) Court of Appeals ruled in May 2015 That the bulk collection of telecommunications metadata by US Government agencies was unlawful, and

  • (ii) this case was filed following revelations by Mr Edward Snowden disclosing the scope of US Government surveillance programs; and

(b) recognises:

  • (i) the critical work that Mr Snowden has carried out in exposing unlawful surveillance programs in the US and its 'Five Eyes' allies, and

  • (ii) that Australians and the global community have legitimate and ongoing concerns about the erosion of privacy caused by the unchecked growth of government electronic surveillance programs.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

26th Mar 2015 – Senate Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority of Senators agreed to pass this bill which requires telecommunications service providers to retain for two years telecommunications metadata on all of their subscribers.

More information is available in the following news articles:

Yes No (strong) Passed by a modest majority

25th Sep 2014, 9:31 PM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority supported passing the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a third reading). The bill will now go to the House of Representatives to see if the members of parliament (MPs) agree with the senators and also want to pass the bill. If they do, the bill will become law.

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.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

25th Sep 2014, 1:53 PM – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - In Committee - Limit number of devices ASIO can access

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The majority disagreed that there should be a limit on the number of devices through which the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) can undertake activities under a warrant.

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald had suggested this amendment but actually voted against it in the end. This is because he "was not absolutely convinced of the amendment that I was moving" and was later convinced by the minister to vote against it (see Senator Macdonald's full explanation).

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.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

25th Sep 2014 – Senate National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 - in Committee - Limit access to computers to extent necessary

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The majority opposed putting a limit on the extent that computers can be the subject of a warrant by Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), which was proposed by Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm (read his full explanation of his amendment).

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.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

14th Nov 2013, 11:34 AM – Senate Motions - Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Reference - Surveillance

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The majority voted against a motion to refer certain surveillance related matters to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. The motion was introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

Motion text

That the following matters be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 10 June 2014:

(a) the implications of revelations regarding surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data by the US National Security Agency and other agencies for the Australian government, businesses and citizens, including risks to:

(i) Australian citizens' fundamental human right to privacy, freedom of expression, the presumption of innocence and the protection of data,

(ii) Australia's diplomatic relationships in the region, and

(iii) increased compliance costs and risks to business through the undermining of confidence in the security of commercial data and encryption standards;

(b) appropriate measures to address, mitigate or eliminate these risks; and

(c) any other relevant matters.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

20th Sep 2007, 7:53 PM – Senate Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 — In Committee — Require judicial warrants

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The majority disagreed that law enforcement agencies should have to get a judicial warrant before accessing telecommunications data about a communication (rather than its actual content). This data includes data on who is sending and receiving a particular communication, the date and time it was sent and how long a communication lasted.

This requirement for a warrant was proposed by Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (see her explanation of this amendment).

Background to the bill

The bill introduces a second group of recommendations made by the Review of the Regulation of Access to Communications (known as the Blunn Report). In particular, the bill transfers key security and law enforcement provisions from the Telecommunications Act 1997 to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.

These provisions relate to access to telecommunications data, which is information about a communication rather than its content and includes data on the sending and receiving parties, and the date, time and duration of the communication. The bill also proposes a new two-tier access regime for access to historic and ‘prospective’ telecommunications data (read more about the bill in its bills digest.)

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

How "voted very 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 2 0 100
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* 5 5 10
Total: 5 130

*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 = 5 / 130 = 3.8%.

And then