The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Robert Simms.

What was the amendment?

The amendment was about how the bills would apply to people with student debts who already live overseas. It would have meant that the changes made by the bills wouldn't apply to those people so long as they continued to live and work overseas and didn't add to their debts at all (yearly indexation doesn't count as adding to your debt).

What are the changes made by the bills?

These bills relate to the policy for requiring Australians working overseas to repay their student debts.

If made into law, the bills will require Australians living overseas and earning over the threshold (which was $54,126 in 2015–16) to repay their Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt under the same compulsory repayment scheme that applies in Australia.

The bills will also require Australians with HELP or TSL debts to notify the Commissioner of Taxation if they plan to be overseas for at least 183 days or if they have been overseas for at least 183 days over any 12 month period. The notification will have to occur either:

  • no later than seven days after leaving Australia; or
  • no later than seven days after the end of those 183 days

See StudyAssist for information about when these changes will come into effect.

Previously, Australians with HELP or TSL debts who moved overseas didn't have to make any repayments, regardless of how much they earned. Nor did they have to notify the Commissioner if they went overseas.

For more information, read the bills digest. Also see ABC News.

Disclaimer: Don't rely on this information to determine your new tax obligations - seek government information (for example, the StudyAssist website).

Amendment text

See the full amendment text on OpenAustralia.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (90% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Robert Simms SA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Absent
Australian Labor Party (67% turnout) 0 Yes 16 No
Joe Bullock WA No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Sam Dastyari NSW No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Sue Lines WA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Nova Peris NT No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Anne McEwen SA Absent
Jan McLucas Queensland Absent
Lisa Singh Tasmania Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President Absent
Bob Day SA Family First Party Absent
Glenn Lazarus Queensland Independent No
John Madigan Victoria Independent No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (32% turnout) 0 Yes 8 No
Simon Birmingham SA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Sean Edwards SA No
David Fawcett SA No
Jo Lindgren Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Michael Ronaldson Victoria No
Anne Ruston SA No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Christopher Back WA Absent
Cory Bernardi SA Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Mitch Fifield Victoria Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
Dean Smith WA Absent
National Party (25% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Absent
John Williams NSW Absent
Nick Xenophon SA Nick Xenophon Team Absent
Dio Wang WA Palmer United Party No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Absent
Totals (54% turnout) 9 Yes – 32 No