The majority voted in favour of a motion "that schedule 4 and part 5 of schedule 7 [of the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013] stand as printed."

In other words, the senators were voting on whether they supported that part and schedule, which expanded the rights of permit holders (such as union officials who have received a permit from the Fair Work Commission) to enter work premises for investigation and discussion purposes. Someone who voted Aye supported the part and schedule. Since the majority voted Aye, the part and schedule remained unchanged.

Debate in Parliament

The motion on whether to support the part and schedule was put after Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz introduced an amendment to oppose them.

Senator Abetz said that he did not have the opportunity to speak to the amendment in detail due to time constraints.(Read Senator Abetz's contribution here.) However, he did say that the expanded right of entry provisions contained in that part and schedule allowed trade union bosses “to invade the lunch room of every workplace in Australia in circumstances where only 13 per cent of the workforce are actually members of the trade union movement in the private sector”.

The Labor Government did not comment on the proposed amendment to oppose the part and schedule.

Background to the bill

The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 was partly made in response to a review of the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘the Act’) by an independent review panel in 2012. The Panel found that the Act was broadly meeting its objectives and so its recommendations were mainly technical. Approximately one third of these recommendations were implemented by the Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 and this Bill was introduced to implement several more of the recommendations as well as other reforms.


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 (80% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Sue Lines WA 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
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Doug Cameron NSW Absent
Bob Carr NSW Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Joe Ludwig Queensland 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 No
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 0 Yes 24 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
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
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Anne Ruston SA Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
John Williams NSW No
Ron Boswell Queensland Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (86% turnout) 35 Yes – 30 No