The majority voted against a motion introduced by Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison, which means it was unsuccessful. The motion was:

That the Senate:

(a) notes:

(i) the announcement by the Victorian State Government that a desalination plant costing $3.1 billion will be built near Wonthaggi to provide a third of Melbourne’s demand for water, approximately 150 billion litres, by 2012,(Read more about this proposed desalination plant on Wikipedia here.) (ii) that the desalination plant and associated pumping of more than 200 km will likely emit more than a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year and increase electricity use in Victoria by 2 per cent, (iii) that the Victorian Government intends to ‘offset’ greenhouse emissions through the purchase of renewable energy, (iv) that the ongoing drought in Victoria is highly likely to be related to climate change, (v) that 95 per cent of Victoria’s electricity is from ageing, low efficiency, brown coal-fired generators, (vi) that $3.1 billion could fund rebates for approximately 2 million household water tanks that could provide 80 billion litres of water for cistern, laundry and garden use, and (vii) that coal-fired power generation in Victoria uses approximately 400 billion litres of water a year;

(b) urges the Victorian State Government to develop desalination only if necessary after:

(i) stringent standards are implemented for water appliances, (ii) substantial quantities of potable water have been displaced by stormwater or other harvested water, (iii) water reticulation infrastructure leaks have been fixed, (iv) water intensive industry and commercial operations are water efficient, (v) all Victorians have low flow shower heads, dual flush cisterns and grey water systems, and (vi) there is widespread application of water sensitive urban design; and

(c) encourages the Victorian State Government to ensure that any desalination still required, uses only renewable-powered technology.


Votes Not passed by a large majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Democrats (100% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Lyn Allison Victoria Yes
Andrew Bartlett Queensland Yes
Andrew Murray WA Yes
Natasha Stott Despoja SA Yes
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 (89% turnout) 0 Yes 24 No
Mark Bishop WA No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
George Campbell NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Trish Crossin NT No
John Faulkner NSW No
Michael Forshaw NSW No
Annette Hurley SA No
Steve Hutchins NSW 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
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Robert Ray Victoria No
Ursula Stephens NSW No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Ruth Webber WA No
Penny Wong SA No
Dana Wortley SA No
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Chris Evans WA Absent
Nick Sherry Tasmania Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Hogg Queensland Deputy President No
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party No
Liberal Party (69% turnout) 0 Yes 22 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Judith Adams WA No
Guy Barnett Tasmania No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Sue Boyce Queensland No
Grant Chapman SA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Alan Eggleston WA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Mary Fisher SA No
Gary Humphries ACT No
Rod Kemp Victoria No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Stephen Parry Tasmania No
Kay Patterson Victoria No
Marise Payne NSW No
Judith Troeth Victoria No
Russell Trood Queensland No
John Watson Tasmania No
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Helen Coonan NSW Absent
Chris Ellison WA Absent
Alan Ferguson SA Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Ross Lightfoot WA Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Nick Minchin SA Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
National Party (40% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Julian McGauran Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
Ron Boswell Queensland Absent
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
Sandy Macdonald NSW Absent
Paul Calvert Tasmania President Absent
Totals (76% turnout) 8 Yes – 50 No