The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Victorian Senator John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party), which means it passed. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but can be politically influential as they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) five United Nations agencies: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the World Health Organization, have issued a combined report calling for urgent steps to be taken to address gender-biased sex selection, including:

(a) the collection of more reliable data on the extent of the problem,

(b) guidelines on the use of technology,

(c) supportive measures for girls and women, and

(d) other legal and awareness-raising actions,

(ii) in its 2010 report the UNFPA states that, according to the 2000 United States Census, immigrants to the United States of America from China, India and the Republic of Korea had a sex ratio at birth almost as skewed as in their countries of origin, and

(iii) at the UN Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) (1994) in Cairo and at the 4th World Congress on Women (1995) in Beijing, Australia committed ‘to enact and enforce legislation protecting girls from all forms of violence ... including prenatal sex selection’;

(b) condemns the practice of gender-biased sex selection in abortion or infanticide whether in Australia or overseas; and

(c) encourages the Government to support the recommendations of the interagency statement of the five UN agencies and uphold its commitments to the ICPD 1994 and the 4th World Congress on Women.

Votes Passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 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
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Penny Wright SA No
Australian Labor Party (77% turnout) 23 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Bob Carr NSW Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Sue Lines WA 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
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
Ursula Stephens NSW Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW Yes
Lin Thorp Tasmania Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President Yes
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Absent
Liberal Party (41% turnout) 11 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Helen Kroger Victoria Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Sue Boyce Queensland Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
David Bushby Tasmania Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Alan Eggleston WA Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Gary Humphries ACT Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Brett Mason Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (20% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
John Williams NSW Yes
Ron Boswell Queensland Absent
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Absent
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Absent
Totals (61% turnout) 37 Yes – 9 No