The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the Fair Work Amendment (Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry) Bill 2012 a second time.

This means that the majority of senators support the main idea of the bill and that the bill can now be considered in further detail.

Debate in Parliament

Labor Senator Anne Urquhart, speaking for the Labor Government, argued that the bill was necessary to address the “ongoing vulnerability of outworkers in the TCF [textile, clothing and footwear] industry” and “the lack of a consistent approach across the country” to this issue.(Read Senator Urquhart's contribution here. )

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, argued that outworkers should not be treated as employees, saying that such an approach “will stifle the young, the innovative and the entrepreneur”.(Read Senator Abetz's contribution here. )

Background to the Bill

The bill was introduced to address the poor working conditions facing vulnerable workers in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry.(More information about this bill and the context surrounding it can be found here. The text of the bill as passed by both houses can be found here.) Controversially, it extends most of the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 to outworkers by deeming them to be employees. It also extends specific right of entry rules to sweatshop premises. This allows a permit holder (such as a union official) to enter such premises without giving 24 hours notice under certain circumstances.


Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Bob Brown Tasmania Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Australian Labor Party (87% turnout) 26 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Bob Carr NSW Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
John Faulkner NSW Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Kate Lundy ACT Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Nick Sherry Tasmania Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
Ursula Stephens NSW Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Chris Evans WA Absent
Joe Ludwig Queensland Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (93% turnout) 0 Yes 25 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Christopher Back WA No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Sue Boyce Queensland No
George Brandis Queensland No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Sean Edwards SA No
Alan Eggleston WA No
David Fawcett SA 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
Marise Payne NSW No
Michael Ronaldson Victoria No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Judith Adams WA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Ron Boswell Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
John Williams NSW No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (89% turnout) 38 Yes – 30 No