This division relates to an amendment moved by the Shadow Attorney General George Brandis during the debate on the Human Rights ( Parliamentary Scrutiny) Bill and the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) (Consequential Provisions) Bill. The amendment if passed would have narrowed the definition of human rights by eliminating the inclusion of the provisions of International convenants from the bill unless they could be demonstrated to have already been applied in Australian domestic law. In putting the amendment, Brandis stated that the Coalition would only support the bills if its amendment was passed. The Coalition also opposed the requirements for parliamentary committees considering bills to include a compatibility statement with reports on bills


The bills implemented legislative elements of Australia’s Human Rights Framework announced by the Labor government in April 2010. The Human Rights Framework outlines a range of measures to further protect and promote human rights in Australia. It reflects the key recommendations of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee which followed a public consultation conducted by Father Frank Brennan. The bill established a Joint Parliamentary Committee which has the functions of examining Acts, bills for Acts and other legislative instruments for compatibility with Australia’s human rights obligations. It reports to both Houses of Parliament and can inquire into, and report to Parliament, on matters relating to human rights referred to it by the Attorney-General. The bill also introduces a requirement for statements of compatibility to be prepared for all bills. A statement of compatibility must assess whether the bill or legislative instrument is compatible with the human rights in the seven core United Nations treaties including the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. Following the debate on their amendment, the Coalition opposed the bills that were carried in the Senate on the voices with the support of Labor and the Greens.

Votes Not passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Bob Brown Tasmania No
Richard Di Natale Victoria No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Scott Ludlam WA No
Christine Milne Tasmania No
Lee Rhiannon NSW No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Penny Wright SA No
Australian Labor Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 24 No
Mark Arbib NSW No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Mark Bishop WA No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Trish Crossin NT No
Chris Evans WA No
John Faulkner NSW No
David Feeney Victoria No
Mark Furner Queensland No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Gavin Marshall Victoria No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Ursula Stephens NSW No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Kate Lundy ACT Absent
Nick Sherry Tasmania Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President Absent
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Judith Adams WA Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Sue Boyce Queensland Yes
George Brandis Queensland Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
Alan Eggleston WA Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Mary Fisher SA Yes
Gary Humphries ACT Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Helen Kroger Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Brett Mason Queensland Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Yes
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Ron Boswell Queensland Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
John Hogg Queensland President No
Totals (84% turnout) 30 Yes – 34 No