The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes a study entitled Lots of loss with little scrutiny: The attrition of habitat critical for threatened species in Australia, which was published on 8 September 2019, and found that:

(i) Australia has one of the worst extinction rates of any nation, yet there has been little assessment of the effect of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), to prevent species extinction,

(ii) 7.7 million hectares of potential habitat for terrestrial threatened species, terrestrial migratory species, and threatened ecological communities has been cleared between 2000 and 2017,

(iii) of this loss, 7.1 million hectare (93%) was not referred to the Federal Government for assessment,

(iv) this non-compliance means that potential habitat for terrestrial threatened species, terrestrial migratory species, and threatened ecological communities have been lost without assessment, regulation, or enforcement under the EPBC Act,

(v) additionally, when an action has been referred, most habitat loss has been approved, sometimes with conditions, and therefore has resulted in large areas of cumulative habitat loss,

(vi) the EPBC Act is ineffective at protecting potential habitat for terrestrial threatened species, terrestrial migratory species, or threatened ecological communities, and

(vii) without strict, comprehensive application and enforcement, as well as explicit guidance and requirements, policies such as the EPBC Act will remain ineffective at regulating habitat loss and protecting biodiversity;

(b) notes that:

(i) last week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) revealed that the Federal Government authorised the clearing of north Queensland woodland, despite its own environment department finding it was likely to destroy habitat critical to the vulnerable greater glider – former Deputy Prime Minister Mr Joyce had written to the former Minister for the Environment and Energy, Mr Frydenberg, asking for no unnecessary intervention under the EPBC Act in relation to the land clearing,

(ii) GuardianAustralia recently revealed that a company part-owned by Mr Angus Taylor, MP and his brother were under investigation by the Department of the Environment and Energy for alleged unlawful destruction of critically-endangered grasslands when Minister Taylor met with departmental staff, including a compliance officer investigating the clearing allegations, and he also approached the former Minister for the Environment and Energy, Mr Frydenberg, about amending the critically-endangered listing of the grassland species, and

(iii) the ABC revealed last year that the former Minister for the Environment and Energy, Mr Frydenberg, ignored advice from his own Department that he should reject an application for the Toondah Harbour apartment and marina proposal in Queensland because of the damage it would do to an internationally protected wetland, home to critically-endangered migratory shorebirds, instead allowing the project to progress to the next stage of assessment; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) implement the study's recommendations, including that when scientifically determinable, critical habitat is demarcated for listed species and communities, which provides absolute protection that is enforced, monitored, and investigated by the regulator,

(ii) ensure that the current review of the EPBC Act address its fundamental failure to actually protect the environment, biodiversity and conservation, and

(iii) audit all decisions made by Mr Frydenberg in his capacity as the Minister for the Environment and Energy, as they relate to land clearing and critical habitat destruction.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Australian Labor Party (64% turnout) 0 Yes 16 No
Tim Ayres NSW No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Raff Ciccone Victoria No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Nita Green Queensland No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Louise Pratt WA No
Tony Sheldon NSW No
Marielle Smith SA No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Jess Walsh Victoria No
Murray Watt Queensland No
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Kristina Keneally NSW Absent
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Absent
Deborah O'Neill NSW Absent
Helen Polley Tasmania Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Centre Alliance (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Stirling Griff SA No
Rex Patrick SA No
Sam McMahon NT Country Liberal Party No
Sue Lines WA Deputy President No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Jacqui Lambie Network No
Liberal National Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (61% turnout) 0 Yes 17 No
Alex Antic SA No
Wendy Askew Tasmania No
Andrew Bragg NSW No
Slade Brockman WA No
Claire Chandler Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Hollie Hughes NSW No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Matt O'Sullivan WA No
James Paterson Victoria No
Gerard Rennick Queensland No
Anne Ruston SA No
Paul Scarr Queensland No
Dean Smith WA No
David Van Victoria No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
Mitch Fifield Victoria Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Linda Reynolds WA Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
Amanda Stoker Queensland Absent
National Party (67% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Perin Davey NSW No
Susan McDonald Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President No
Totals (70% turnout) 9 Yes – 44 No