The majority voted against a motion to let the Senate deal with the national cancer screening bills now, instead of waiting until the next parliamentary session.

What does this mean?

Under parliamentary rules, a bill can't be discussed and debated in the same session that it is introduced. The reason for this is so that there is time to, for example, have the bills considered by committees. However, it is possible to exempt a bill from this rule and consider it straight away - as the Government tried to do here. But since they were unsuccessful, the bills can now be considered by a committee.

Why shouldn't these bills be dealt with right away?

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher explained why the Labor Party voted against this motion (and so didn't support speeding up consideration of the bill):

In principle, Labor does support the establishment of the National Cancer Screening Register ... However, the arrangements proposed within the bill ... would see the federal government for the first time entering into a commercial agreement with a for-profit company to administer a cancer screening initiative of this scope and importance.

As this is uncharted territory for the departments and agencies involved, and as the bill goes to something as vital as the health and wellbeing of Australians, it deserves the fullest attention and scrutiny of our parliamentary processes. Labor's concerns go to key elements of the bill. These include reservations about the impact of the bill on individual privacy, the adequacy of the security arrangements for extremely sensitive health information, and the nature and appropriateness of the commercial relationship entered into by the government with Telstra Health.

Issues such as these, I think, self-evidently warrant further consideration by this parliament and this chamber. ... I urge the Senate to oppose exemption of these bills from the cut-off and support further consideration of them by the legislation committee.

What are the national cancer bills?

The two bills are the:

Read more about them in the bills digest.


Western Australian Senator Rod Culleton rebelled against his party, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, to vote in support of this motion. That is, he supported speeding up consideration of this bill while the rest of his Party voted against it. Rebellions like this are increasingly uncommon in the Australian Parliament.

Motion text

The question now is that the national cancer screening bills be exempt from the cut-off.

Votes Not passed by a small majority

There was 1 rebellion in this division.

  • Rod Culleton voted Yes against the majority of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party.
Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Scott Ludlam WA No
Nick McKim Tasmania No
Lee Rhiannon NSW No
Janet Rice Victoria No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Australian Labor Party (69% turnout) 0 Yes 18 No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Anthony Chisholm Queensland No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Patrick Dodson WA No
Don Farrell SA No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Sue Lines WA No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Murray Watt Queensland No
Penny Wong SA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
Sam Dastyari NSW Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Absent
Lisa Singh Tasmania Absent
Glenn Sterle WA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President No
Bob Day SA Family First Party Absent
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (50% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
James McGrath Queensland Yes
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (73% turnout) 16 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Jane Hume Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
James Paterson Victoria Yes
Marise Payne NSW Yes
Linda Reynolds WA Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Zed Seselja ACT Yes
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Christopher Back WA Absent
Cory Bernardi SA Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Nick Xenophon Team (67% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Stirling Griff SA No
Skye Kakoschke-Moore SA No
Nick Xenophon SA Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (100% turnout) 1 Yes 3 No
Rod Culleton WA Yes
Brian Burston NSW No
Pauline Hanson Queensland No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Yes
Totals (80% turnout) 25 Yes – 36 No