The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 for a second time.

This means that the bill can now be considered in further detail. However, in this case, there was no further discussion of the bill and the Senate immediately voted on whether to pass it.(That division is available here. )

Debate in Parliament

This bill was considered by the Senate on the last sitting day of the 43rd Parliament, which meant the debate had to be short.

Liberal Party Senator Michaelia Cash said that the legislation was “being slammed through the Senate with 3½ minutes of debate” and argued that it showed how “the union movement controls the ALP [Australian Labor Party]”.(Read Senator Cash's whole contribution here. )

A controversial aspect of the bill that was introduced by amendment in the House of Representatives is the requirement that unions are represented on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration.(See the debate on this amendment here. )

Background to the Bill

The Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 was introduced by MP O'Connor to “enhance the government's ability to deter sponsor behaviour which is inconsistent with the policy intent of the subclass 457 visa program and other temporary employer sponsored visa programs”.(Read MP O'Connor's comments here. ) At the time this bill was introduced, the 457 visa program was receiving extensive media attention with claims that it was being misused.(See ABC News. A simple explanation of the 457 visa scheme can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website here.)


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 (83% turnout) 25 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW 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
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
Penny Wong SA Yes
Bob Carr NSW Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
Liberal Party (85% turnout) 0 Yes 23 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Christopher Back WA No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania 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
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Sue Boyce Queensland Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Anne Ruston SA 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 (87% turnout) 37 Yes – 29 No