The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Kerry Nettle also on behalf of Senators Joe Ludwig and Natasha Stott Despoja.

The motion was: "That the instrument made by the Governor-General on 13 June 2006 under subsection 35(2) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, disallowing the Civil Unions Act 2006 (ACT), be disallowed."

This motion would have disallowed the federal government’s intervention in the ACT Civil Unions Act 2006, when the Federal Executive Council told the Governor-General to disallow the Act.(Read more about the Act and the federal government's intervention here. )

Liberal Party Senator Gary Humphries rebelled against his party as he crossed the floor to vote 'aye' with the Opposition.(Read more about what it means to be a rebel in our FAQ Section. )

Background to the motion

The Civil Unions Bill 2006 was introduced "to provide a scheme for two people, regardless of their sex, to enter into a formally recognised union (a civil union) that attracts the same rights and obligations as would attach to married spouses under Territory law."(Read more in the explanatory statement that is available here. ) This bill was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 11 May 2006.(Learn more about the passing of the ACT Bill here on the ABC's PM Program.)


Votes Not passed by a small majority

There was 1 rebellion in this division.

Party Votes
Australian Democrats (75% turnout) 3 Yes 0 No
Lyn Allison Victoria Yes
Andrew Bartlett Queensland Yes
Andrew Murray WA Yes
Natasha Stott Despoja SA Absent
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Bob Brown Tasmania Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Kerry Nettle NSW Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Australian Labor Party (81% turnout) 22 Yes 0 No
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
George Campbell NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
Chris Evans WA Yes
John Faulkner NSW Yes
Annette Hurley SA Yes
Steve Hutchins NSW Yes
Linda Kirk SA Yes
Joe Ludwig Queensland Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Kerry O'Brien Tasmania Yes
Robert Ray Victoria Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Ruth Webber WA Yes
Penny Wong SA Yes
Dana Wortley SA Yes
Michael Forshaw NSW Absent
Kate Lundy ACT Absent
Helen Polley Tasmania Absent
Nick Sherry Tasmania Absent
Ursula Stephens NSW Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
John Hogg Queensland Deputy President Absent
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party No
Liberal Party (81% turnout) 1 Yes 25 No
Gary Humphries ACT Yes
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Judith Adams WA No
Guy Barnett Tasmania No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Grant Chapman SA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Helen Coonan NSW No
Alan Eggleston WA No
Alan Ferguson SA No
Jeannie Ferris SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
David Johnston WA No
Rod Kemp Victoria No
Ross Lightfoot WA No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Nick Minchin SA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania No
Kay Patterson Victoria No
Michael Ronaldson Victoria No
Judith Troeth Victoria No
Russell Trood Queensland No
Amanda Vanstone SA No
John Watson Tasmania No
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Ian Campbell WA Absent
Chris Ellison WA Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Santo Santoro Queensland Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Ron Boswell Queensland No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland No
Sandy Macdonald NSW No
Julian McGauran Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
Paul Calvert Tasmania President No
Totals (82% turnout) 30 Yes – 32 No