How Matt O'Sullivan voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation to increase the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to intercept and retain communications related to persons of interest. These agencies include the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Division Matt O'Sullivan Supporters vote Division outcome

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

Show detail

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 Yes 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

Show detail

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 Yes Passed by a modest 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

Show detail

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 Yes Passed by a large majority

How "voted very strongly 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 3 30 30
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 30 30

*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 = 30 / 30 = 100%.

And then