The majority voted against an amendment to reduce the quorum requirement contained in the Governance of Australian Government Superannuation Schemes Bill 2011, which was introduced by Liberal Party Senator Mathias Cormann.

A quorum requirement is the number of board members that need to be present at a board meeting before the meeting can conduct any business. If there are not enough board members to make up a quorum, no decisions can be made.

Someone who voted Aye supported the amendment to reduce the quorum requirement. The majority voted No, so the amendment was unsuccessful.

Debate in Parliament

The amendment would have reduced the quorum requirement from nine out of the eleven directors to eight out of the eleven. Senator Cormann argued that the amendment was necessary because the current quorum requirement was “extraordinarily high”.(See Senator Cormann's contribution and the associated debate here. ) He explained that this quorum requirement created a situation where the three Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) directors “could act on bloc” because at least one of the three must attend for the board meeting to reach quorum. By reducing the quorum requirement to eight, “the ACTU by themselves would not be able to make the operations of the board unworkable”.

The Labor Government did not support the amendment. Labor Party Senator Nicholas Sherry said that there are safeguards in place to deal with the issues raised by Senator Cormann.(See Senator Sherry's contribution and the associated debate here. )

Background to the Bill

The Bill is part of a package of three bills.(More information about this bill and the context surrounding it can be found here. The text of the proposed amendment can be found here.) It creates the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation by merging the Australian Reward Investment Alliance, the Military Superannuation and Benefits Board and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority. The purpose of these changes is to modernise Australian Government superannuation and make it more consistent with the broader superannuation industry.


Votes Not passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (80% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Bob Brown Tasmania No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Christine Milne Tasmania No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Scott Ludlam WA Absent
Australian Labor Party (94% turnout) 0 Yes 29 No
Mark Arbib NSW No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Mark Bishop WA No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Trish Crossin NT No
Chris Evans WA No
Don Farrell SA No
John Faulkner NSW No
Michael Forshaw NSW No
Mark Furner Queensland No
Annette Hurley SA No
Steve Hutchins NSW 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
Louise Pratt WA No
Nick Sherry Tasmania No
Ursula Stephens NSW No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Penny Wong SA No
Dana Wortley SA No
David Feeney Victoria Absent
Joe Ludwig Queensland Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Alan Ferguson SA Deputy President Yes
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
Liberal Party (93% turnout) 28 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Judith Adams WA Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Guy Barnett Tasmania Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Sue Boyce Queensland Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Helen Coonan NSW Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Alan Eggleston WA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Mary Fisher SA Yes
Bill Heffernan NSW Yes
Gary Humphries ACT Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Helen Kroger Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Brett Mason Queensland Yes
Nick Minchin SA Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Yes
Marise Payne NSW Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Judith Troeth Victoria Yes
Russell Trood Queensland Yes
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Ron Boswell Queensland Yes
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Yes
Julian McGauran Victoria Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
John Hogg Queensland President No
Totals (92% turnout) 34 Yes – 36 No