The majority supported a motion introduced by Nick Xenophon Team Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore, which means it was successful. The motion related to funding for legal assistance services, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services.

Motions like these don't have legal force but represent the will of the Senate. This means that they can't force the Government to do anything but can still be influential.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes, with respect to legal assistance services:

(i) legal aid commissions, community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services ("legal assistance services") are severely underfunded,

(ii) the Government plans to cut a further $51 million from community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services from 1 July 2017, resulting in closures and affecting thousands of marginalised and disenfranchised Australians,

(iii) in 1997, the Government spent $11.22 per capita each year on legal aid compared to $7.84 per capita today – its share of funding (with the states and territories) has fallen from 55 per cent in 1997 to 35 per cent, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission has recommended that an additional $200 million is needed for civil legal aid alone;

(b) recognises that this legal assistance underfunding means:

(i) just 8 per cent of Australians qualify for legal aid under restrictive means tests, while 14 per cent of Australians are living beneath the poverty line,

(ii) around 10,000 Australians each year are forced to represent themselves in court,

(iii) community legal centres are forced to turn away over 160,000 people a year, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission found that investing in legal assistance services generates significant downstream savings;

(c) acknowledges, with respect to the underfunding of the federal courts:

(i) the neglect of the Federal and Family Courts means that families facing the most serious family law issues can wait up to three years before a final trial,

(ii) that these unacceptably long delays in hearings and determinations are denying justice and fairness to Australians seeking protection and finality in their legal affairs, with detrimental impacts on vulnerable children, families, business, and entire communities, and

(iii) a 2014 KPMG report given to the Government, but not released, found the Federal, Family and Federal Circuit Courts were ontrack for a combined budget shortfall of $75 million by 2017-18 which will result in further cuts to their services; and

(d) calls on the Government to:

(i) immediately reverse the imminent cuts to community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services,

(ii) release the 2014 KPMG Report on the Federal Courts given to the Attorney-General,

(iii) commit to adequate and sustainable longer-term funding contributions to the legal assistance sector, and

(iv) review resourcing for the federal courts and identify what resources are required to address unacceptable delays in hearing and determinations.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives No
Australian Greens (78% turnout) 7 Yes 0 No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Absent
Larissa Waters Queensland Absent
Australian Labor Party (96% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Sam Dastyari NSW Yes
Patrick Dodson WA Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Katy Gallagher ACT Yes
Chris Ketter Queensland Yes
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Yes
Sue Lines WA Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President Absent
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent Yes
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 (81% turnout) 0 Yes 17 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Christopher Back WA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
James Paterson Victoria No
Marise Payne NSW No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland 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 Team (67% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Stirling Griff SA Yes
Skye Kakoschke-Moore SA Yes
Nick Xenophon SA Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (100% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Brian Burston NSW Yes
Peter Georgiou WA Yes
Pauline Hanson Queensland Yes
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania President No
Totals (88% turnout) 40 Yes – 26 No