The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Senator Richard Colbeck and Senator Nigel Scullion, which means that it was unsuccessful.

This amendment opposes the main purpose of this bill, which is to remove ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486 and related medicines. Instead, the amendment would have made some changes to the current process but fundamentally kept it in place. In other words, ultimate responsibility for approving RU486 would remain with the Minister. Senator Colbeck explained that "as elected representatives we should have some oversight of that process".(Read Senator Colbeck's full explanation and the associated debate here, after 4:11 pm. )

This division was a conscience vote, meaning that senators were not required to vote along party lines.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 in order to transfer the responsibility for regulatory approval of RU486 from the Minister for Health and Ageing to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This will make it possible to evaluate, register, list or import abortifacients such as RU486 (i.e. medicines intended to induce an abortion) for use in Australia without the approval of the Minister.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (342 KB). More information, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)

Votes Not passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Democrats (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Lyn Allison Victoria No
Andrew Bartlett Queensland No
Andrew Murray WA No
Natasha Stott Despoja SA No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Bob Brown Tasmania No
Christine Milne Tasmania No
Kerry Nettle NSW No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Australian Labor Party (100% turnout) 6 Yes 21 No
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Michael Forshaw NSW Yes
Steve Hutchins NSW Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Ursula Stephens NSW Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania No
George Campbell NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Trish Crossin NT No
Chris Evans WA No
John Faulkner NSW No
Annette Hurley SA No
Linda Kirk SA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Kate Lundy ACT No
Gavin Marshall Victoria No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Kerry O'Brien Tasmania No
Robert Ray Victoria No
Nick Sherry Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Ruth Webber WA No
Penny Wong SA No
Dana Wortley SA No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Yes
John Hogg Queensland Deputy President Yes
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party Yes
Liberal Party (94% turnout) 19 Yes 11 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Guy Barnett Tasmania Yes
George Brandis Queensland Yes
Grant Chapman SA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Helen Coonan NSW Yes
Alan Eggleston WA Yes
Chris Ellison WA Yes
Alan Ferguson SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Bill Heffernan NSW Yes
Gary Humphries ACT Yes
Ross Lightfoot WA Yes
Brett Mason Queensland Yes
Nick Minchin SA Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Yes
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Yes
Santo Santoro Queensland Yes
John Watson Tasmania Yes
Judith Adams WA No
Jeannie Ferris SA No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Robert Hill SA No
David Johnston WA No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Kay Patterson Victoria No
Marise Payne NSW No
Judith Troeth Victoria No
Russell Trood Queensland No
Amanda Vanstone SA No
Ian Campbell WA Absent
Rod Kemp Victoria Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 4 Yes 1 No
Ron Boswell Queensland Yes
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Yes
Sandy Macdonald NSW Yes
Julian McGauran Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW No
Paul Calvert Tasmania President Yes
Totals (97% turnout) 33 Yes – 41 No