The majority voted against a motion to read the bill a third time.

This means that the bill did not have the support of the majority of senators and so it will not become law.

Someone who voted Aye supports the bill, which allows universities to impose an annual capped compulsory student services and amenities fee. Since there were an equal number of senators who voted Aye and No, the bill was rejected. This is because bills need the support of a majority in order to be passed.

Debate in Parliament

Labor Senator Kim Carr said that the bill would introduce a fee that will “assist the rebuilding and the restoration of student services and amenities”.(Read Senator Carr's contribution here. ) He emphasised that the fee “will be paid directly to universities and not to student organisations”.

Liberal Party Senator Brett Mason said that the Opposition “do not believe that students should be forced to pay for services they will not or cannot use”.(Read Senator Mason's contribution here. ) He argued that the demographic of universities has changed: “Most students are older; many more now study part-time and in the evenings, with work and other commitments”. He said this fee “will be subsidising students who live on campus and that is just not fair”.

Background to the bill

Compulsory student union fees were abolished under then Prime Minister John Howard’s Coalition Government with the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Upfront Student Union Fees) Bill 2005. This meant that universities could no longer require students to pay a compulsory fee for facilities, amenities or services that were not of an academic nature.

This bill aims to re-introduce a compulsory student services and amenities fee.(More information about this bill and its context can be found here.)


Votes Not passed

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 5 Yes 0 No
Bob Brown Tasmania Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Australian Labor Party (87% turnout) 27 Yes 0 No
Mark Arbib NSW Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
John Faulkner NSW Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Steve Hutchins NSW Yes
Joe Ludwig Queensland Yes
Kate Lundy ACT Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Kerry O'Brien Tasmania Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Nick Sherry Tasmania Yes
Ursula Stephens NSW Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Penny Wong SA Yes
Dana Wortley SA Yes
Chris Evans WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Michael Forshaw NSW Absent
Annette Hurley SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
Alan Ferguson SA Deputy President No
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (93% turnout) 0 Yes 28 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Christopher Back WA No
Guy Barnett Tasmania No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
George Brandis Queensland No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Helen Coonan NSW No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Alan Eggleston WA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Mary Fisher SA No
Bill Heffernan NSW No
Gary Humphries ACT No
David Johnston WA No
Helen Kroger Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Nick Minchin SA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania No
Marise Payne NSW No
Michael Ronaldson Victoria No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Judith Troeth Victoria No
Russell Trood Queensland No
Judith Adams WA Absent
Sue Boyce Queensland Absent
National Party (60% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Ron Boswell Queensland No
Julian McGauran Victoria No
John Williams NSW No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (89% turnout) 34 Yes – 34 No