The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Snowdon’s amendment) stand part of the question." This means that the words that Labor MP Warren Snowdon had wanted to omit will remain unchanged and so Mr Snowdon's amendment was unsuccessful.

Mr Snowdon's amendment would have amended the original motion "That the bill be read a second time" with the following:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “whilst welcoming many measures contained in the bill including the mining and exploration provisions, the House is of the opinion that some other provisions of this bill: (1) undermine the integrity of the Principal Act by eroding the rights of traditional owners and the independence of land councils; (2) are a recipe for uncertainty for development on Aboriginal land; (3) should be withdrawn and redrafted to provide a more balanced approach that ensures: (a) the informed consent of traditional owners to major changes; (b) that traditional owners as land owners are not unfairly constrained in optimising their financial and other benefits under the 99 year lease; (c) the better promotion and facilitation of economic development on Aboriginal land including home ownership opportunities for Aboriginal people; (d) the protection of traditional owners’ rights to control access and development on their own land; and (e) the maintenance of the independence and viability of land councils to defend and pursue the interests of traditional owners and other Aboriginal people living on Aboriginal land.”

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the _ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005_ and the _ Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976_ to:(Read more about the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 here. )

  • increase access to Aboriginal land for development, especially exploration and mining;
  • facilitate the leasing of Aboriginal land and the mortgaging of leases;
  • provide for a tenure system for townships on Aboriginal land that will allow individuals to have property rights;
  • devolve decision-making powers to regional Aboriginal communities;
  • clarify provisions for the establishment of new Land Councils;
  • increase accountability of Land Councils and incorporated bodies which receive payments for the use of Aboriginal land and provide for funding on the basis of workloads; and
  • dispose of land claims which cannot be heard or finalised or which are clearly inappropriate to grant.(Read more about the bill here. More information is available in the bills digest.)

According to the bill's explanatory memorandum, this bill implements reforms drawn from three reviews of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 conducted over the last nine years.


Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Labor Party (86% turnout) 0 Yes 51 No
Dick Adams Lyons No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler No
Arch Bevis Brisbane No
Sharon Bird Cunningham No
Chris Bowen Prospect No
Anna Burke Chisholm No
Anthony Byrne Holt No
Ann Corcoran Isaacs No
Michael Danby Melbourne Ports No
Graham Edwards Cowan No
Justine Elliot Richmond No
Annette Ellis Canberra No
Kate Ellis Adelaide No
Laurie Ferguson Reid No
Martin Ferguson Batman No
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter No
Peter Garrett Kingsford Smith No
Steve Georganas Hindmarsh No
Jennie George Throsby No
Steve Gibbons Bendigo No
Sharon Grierson Newcastle No
Alan Griffin Bruce No
Jill Hall Shortland No
Michael Hatton Blaxland No
Chris Hayes Werriwa No
Kelly Hoare Charlton No
Julia Irwin Fowler No
Duncan Kerr Denison No
Catherine King Ballarat No
Carmen Lawrence Fremantle No
Jenny Macklin Jagajaga No
Robert McClelland Barton No
Bob McMullan Fraser No
Daryl Melham Banks No
John Murphy Lowe No
Brendan O'Connor Gorton No
Gavan O'Connor Corio No
Julie Owens Parramatta No
Tanya Plibersek Sydney No
Roger Price Chifley No
Bernie Ripoll Oxley No
Nicola Roxon Gellibrand No
Rod Sawford Port Adelaide No
Bob Sercombe Maribyrnong No
Stephen Smith Perth No
Warren Snowdon Lingiari No
Wayne Swan Lilley No
Lindsay Tanner Melbourne No
Kelvin Thomson Wills No
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell No
Kim Wilkie Swan No
Kim Beazley Brand Absent
Tony Burke Watson Absent
Simon Crean Hotham Absent
Craig Emerson Rankin Absent
Julia Gillard Lalor Absent
Harry Jenkins Scullin Absent
Kirsten Livermore Capricornia Absent
Kevin Rudd Griffith Absent
Dave Tollner Solomon Country Liberal Party Absent
Ian Causley Page Deputy Speaker Absent
Bob Katter Kennedy Independent Yes
Tony Windsor New England Independent Yes
Peter Andren Calare Independent No
Harry Quick Franklin Independent Absent
Liberal Party (85% turnout) 62 Yes 0 No
Tony Abbott Warringah Yes
Kevin Andrews Menzies Yes
Bruce Baird Cook Yes
Mark Baker Braddon Yes
Bob Baldwin Paterson Yes
Phillip Barresi Deakin Yes
Kerry Bartlett Macquarie Yes
Bruce Billson Dunkley Yes
Bronwyn Bishop Mackellar Yes
Russell Broadbent McMillan Yes
Mal Brough Longman Yes
Steven Ciobo Moncrieff Yes
Peter Costello Higgins Yes
Trish Draper Makin Yes
Kay Elson Forde Yes
Warren Entsch Leichhardt Yes
Pat Farmer Macarthur Yes
David Fawcett Wakefield Yes
Michael Ferguson Bass Yes
Joanna Gash Gilmore Yes
Petro Georgiou Kooyong Yes
Barry Haase Kalgoorlie Yes
Gary Hardgrave Moreton Yes
Stuart Henry Hasluck Yes
Joe Hockey North Sydney Yes
Dennis Jensen Tangney Yes
Michael Johnson Ryan Yes
David Jull Fadden Yes
Michael Keenan Stirling Yes
Jackie Kelly Lindsay Yes
Andrew Laming Bowman Yes
Sussan Ley Farrer Yes
Peter Lindsay Herbert Yes
Jim Lloyd Robertson Yes
Ian Macfarlane Groom Yes
Louise Markus Greenway Yes
Margaret May McPherson Yes
Stewart McArthur Corangamite Yes
Sophie Mirabella Indi Yes
Judi Moylan Pearce Yes
Gary Nairn Eden-Monaro Yes
Brendan Nelson Bradfield Yes
Chris Pearce Aston Yes
Geoff Prosser Forrest Yes
Christopher Pyne Sturt Yes
Don Randall Canning Yes
Kym Richardson Kingston Yes
Alby Schultz Hume Yes
Patrick Secker Barker Yes
Peter Slipper Fisher Yes
Tony Smith Casey Yes
Alex Somlyay Fairfax Yes
Andrew Southcott Boothby Yes
Sharman Stone Murray Yes
Cameron Thompson Blair Yes
Ken Ticehurst Dobell Yes
Wilson Tuckey O'Connor Yes
Malcolm Turnbull Wentworth Yes
Danna Vale Hughes Yes
Ross Vasta Bonner Yes
Barry Wakelin Grey Yes
Jason Wood La Trobe Yes
Fran Bailey McEwen Absent
Julie Bishop Curtin Absent
Alan Cadman Mitchell Absent
Alexander Downer Mayo Absent
Peter Dutton Dickson Absent
Teresa Gambaro Petrie Absent
John Howard Bennelong Absent
Greg Hunt Flinders Absent
Andrew Robb Goldstein Absent
Philip Ruddock Berowra Absent
Mal Washer Moore Absent
National Party (91% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
John Anderson Gwydir Yes
John Cobb Parkes Yes
John Forrest Mallee Yes
Luke Hartsuyker Cowper Yes
Kay Hull Riverina Yes
Peter McGauran Gippsland Yes
Paul Neville Hinkler Yes
Bruce Scott Maranoa Yes
Warren Truss Wide Bay Yes
Mark Vaile Lyne Yes
De-Anne Kelly Dawson Absent
David Hawker Wannon Speaker Absent
Totals (84% turnout) 74 Yes – 52 No