Senator Milne put forward a motion asking that the normal business of the Senate be stopped to discuss a motion relating to how Australian troop deployments are handled. The motion is to change the current system of troop deployment, which is by executive decision of the government in power, to a system that includes passing such a decision through Australia's elected representatives.

Senator Fifield Spoke against the motion citing two reasons:

The first being that he didn't feel enough notice or a good enough reason had been provided to warrant changing the proceedings for the day.

We do have an order of business in this place. We do have allocated time for government business. We do have allocated time as well for private senators' business. We do have allocated time for a range of contributions from colleagues in this place, and a very good reason always needs to be put forward if those arrangements are to be disturbed. My first point is that I do not think that the appropriate courtesies and notice have been observed in relation to this matter nor do I think a decent rationale has been put forward to change the arrangements for today.

The second and in his eyes more important reason is that he disagrees with the motion that Senator Milne wants to change the proceedings to discuss. His view is that troop deployment should remain an executive decision, although this view is not strictly relevant to the motion currently being debated.

The second and perhaps more significant reason for denying leave and opposing the motion to suspend standing orders moved my Senator Milne is the very long established convention and practice observed by both the coalition government and by also the Australian Labor Party in government—and I do not want to pre-empt whatever the Prime Minister will be saying today—that the deployment of Australian Defence Force personnel in whatever capacity and in whatever way is a decision for the executive government of the day. We do not have the system of the United States here where the congress needs to endorse or give approval to certain actions in relation to armed service personnel. We have a different system here.


That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter—namely, a motion relating to the deployment of Australian troops.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 10 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
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Australian Labor Party (70% turnout) 0 Yes 16 No
Joe Bullock WA No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Sam Dastyari NSW No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Kate Lundy ACT No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Nova Peris NT No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Penny Wong SA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Sue Lines WA Absent
Anne McEwen SA Absent
Jan McLucas Queensland Absent
Glenn Sterle WA Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President No
Bob Day SA Family First Party No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent Yes
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
John Madigan Victoria Independent No
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party Absent
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (52% turnout) 0 Yes 13 No
Christopher Back WA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Sean Edwards SA No
David Fawcett SA No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Dean Smith WA No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Cory Bernardi SA Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (75% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
Nick Xenophon SA Nick Xenophon Team Absent
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Glenn Lazarus Queensland No
Dio Wang WA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Absent
Totals (69% turnout) 12 Yes – 40 No