This division relates to the Policy For constitutional recognition of local government.

The majority voted in favour of a motion to adjourn the debate on the bill in the Senate. The motion was introduced by Labor Senator Senator Collins.

Background to the bill

This bill represents a third attempt to have local government recognised in the Australian Constitution. Previous attempts occurred in 1974 and 1988.

Recognition of local government in the Constitution would mean that the Commonwealth can directly fund local government.(For an academic discussion of what it means to recognise local government in the Constitution and the background of this latest attempt to do so, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB). ) Currently the Federal Government can only fund local governments through the states.

Because this bill requires altering the Constitution, conditions under Section 128 apply. These conditions include that the bill must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate and then be submitted to voters in the states and territories in the form of a referendum. To be successful, there must be a double majority, which means:

  • more than half of voters in Australia must vote 'Yes'; and
  • more than half of voters in more than half the States must vote 'Yes' (in other words, a majority of voters in at least four of the six States must vote 'Yes')(Read more about what a double majority is here.)

More information about this Bill and the context surrounding it can be found here (775 KB) in its bills digest.


Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
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
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Australian Labor Party (90% turnout) 27 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Bob Carr NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
John Faulkner NSW 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
Penny Wong SA Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
David Feeney Victoria Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party No
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
Liberal Party (96% turnout) 0 Yes 26 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
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria 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
Anne Ruston SA No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Dean Smith WA No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Ron Boswell Queensland No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
John Williams NSW Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (92% turnout) 37 Yes – 33 No