The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Stephen Smith’s amendment) stand part of the question." In other words, the majority wanted the original motion ("That this bill be now read a second time")(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) unchanged and rejected Mr Smith's amendment to it.

Mr Smith's amendment to the original motion had been the following:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House notes that while assessing the quality and effectiveness of university research is a necessary and desirable public policy objective;

(1) any initiative in this area must be robust, rigorous and support an open and transparent process of peer review;

(2) as proposed by the Government, the RQF(Research Quality Framework. Read more about the RQF here. ) is likely to constitute a disincentive to undertake long-term, basic research;

(3) the university sector has assessed that the RQF would reduce research links with industry and lessen collegiate efforts among researchers and academics from different universities;

(4) essential aspects and details of the scheme are yet to be worked out, so that implementation for 2008 is in serious doubt;

(5) the cost and other resources involved in the assessment and reporting processes mean that the Government’s proposed Research Quality Framework risks preventing breakthrough research from occurring by being overly bureaucratic for too little year on year return; and

(6) the Research Quality Framework measures and processes as set out in the Bill should not be proceeded with, and should be replaced by a model that is fair, equitable, tailored to different disciplines and international best practice”.

Background to the bill

The bill was designed to implement the revised National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes (the Protocols) following a review and consultation process regarding the existing protocols.(Read more about the bill in the bills digest (105 KB).) It also provides funding for implementation of a new method of assessing and funding research: the Research Quality Framework (RQF).

Among other things, the bill:

  • revises the maximum funding amounts for the operation of the Research Quality Framework;
  • reflects changes to the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes;
  • clarifies the administration of the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) and arrangements for Commonwealth supported students;
  • provides for suspension of higher education providers by legislative instrument; and
  • limits the time for students to claim an entitlement to Commonwealth support.


Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Labor Party (85% turnout) 0 Yes 50 No
Dick Adams Lyons No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler No
Sharon Bird Cunningham No
Chris Bowen Prospect No
Tony Burke Watson No
Anthony Byrne Holt No
Ann Corcoran Isaacs No
Simon Crean Hotham No
Michael Danby Melbourne Ports No
Graham Edwards Cowan No
Justine Elliot Richmond No
Annette Ellis Canberra No
Kate Ellis Adelaide No
Craig Emerson Rankin No
Laurie Ferguson Reid No
Martin Ferguson Batman No
Steve Georganas Hindmarsh No
Jennie George Throsby No
Steve Gibbons Bendigo No
Julia Gillard Lalor 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
Kirsten Livermore Capricornia 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
Lindsay Tanner Melbourne No
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell No
Kim Wilkie Swan No
Kim Beazley Brand Absent
Arch Bevis Brisbane Absent
Anna Burke Chisholm Absent
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter Absent
Peter Garrett Kingsford Smith Absent
Harry Jenkins Scullin Absent
Kevin Rudd Griffith Absent
Wayne Swan Lilley Absent
Kelvin Thomson Wills Absent
Dave Tollner Solomon Country Liberal Party Yes
Ian Causley Page Deputy Speaker Yes
Bob Katter Kennedy Independent Yes
Harry Quick Franklin Independent No
Peter Andren Calare Independent Absent
Tony Windsor New England Independent Absent
Liberal Party (88% turnout) 64 Yes 0 No
Kevin Andrews Menzies Yes
Fran Bailey McEwen 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
Julie Bishop Curtin Yes
Russell Broadbent McMillan Yes
Alan Cadman Mitchell Yes
Steven Ciobo Moncrieff Yes
Alexander Downer Mayo Yes
Trish Draper Makin Yes
Peter Dutton Dickson Yes
Kay Elson Forde Yes
Warren Entsch Leichhardt Yes
Pat Farmer Macarthur Yes
David Fawcett Wakefield Yes
Michael Ferguson Bass Yes
Teresa Gambaro Petrie 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
Greg Hunt Flinders 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
Ian Macfarlane Groom Yes
Louise Markus Greenway Yes
Margaret May McPherson Yes
Stewart McArthur Corangamite Yes
Sophie Mirabella Indi Yes
Gary Nairn Eden-Monaro Yes
Brendan Nelson Bradfield Yes
Chris Pearce Aston Yes
Geoff Prosser Forrest Yes
Don Randall Canning Yes
Kym Richardson Kingston Yes
Andrew Robb Goldstein 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
Mal Washer Moore Yes
Tony Abbott Warringah Absent
Mal Brough Longman Absent
Peter Costello Higgins Absent
John Howard Bennelong Absent
Jim Lloyd Robertson Absent
Judi Moylan Pearce Absent
Christopher Pyne Sturt Absent
Philip Ruddock Berowra Absent
Jason Wood La Trobe 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
De-Anne Kelly Dawson Yes
Peter McGauran Gippsland Yes
Paul Neville Hinkler Yes
Bruce Scott Maranoa Yes
Warren Truss Wide Bay Yes
Mark Vaile Lyne Absent
David Hawker Wannon Speaker Absent
Totals (85% turnout) 77 Yes – 51 No