The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart (Labor), which means it passed. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i.) the National Relay Service (NRS) allows deaf and hearing impaired Australians to make and receive telephone calls through the use of text relay services,

(ii.) the NRS can be accessed through different options including CapTel, teletypewriters, SMS and internet relay,

(iii.) the Federal Government has decided to end access to CapTel for NRS users as of 1 February 2020,

(iv.) CapTel currently carries up to 60% of total call minutes generated by users who rely on the NRS,

(v.) according to Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, the number of Australians over the age of 65 who are deaf or hearing impaired has increased from 1.016 million in 2012 to 1.211 million in 2018,

(vi.) the Federal Government is reducing operational funding to the NRS from $27.7 million to $22 million per annum – a reduction of 20%, and

(vii.) up to 3,500 elderly Australians, some whom live alone, currently rely on CapTel to stay in touch with family and friends, and to access emergency services;

(b) further notes that:

(i.) the average age of a CapTel user is 82 years old,

(ii.) many elderly deaf Australians impacted by this decision consider CapTel is the best technology to support their communications needs,

(iii.) the Federal Government did not consult CapTel users on its decision, and

(iv.) the Federal Government is seeking to force many CapTel users onto teletypewriters – in 2016, the Department of Communications referred to this technology as 'legacy' and sought views on phasing it out;

(c) condemns the Federal Government for not consulting elderly CapTel users, or their concerned family members, before making a decision that would affect their welfare; and

(d) calls on the Federal Government to stop imposing inferior communications options on CapTel users, and instead consult the community to find the best outcome.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives No
Australian Greens (89% turnout) 8 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Absent
Australian Labor Party (88% turnout) 22 Yes 0 No
Tim Ayres NSW Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Raff Ciccone Victoria Yes
Patrick Dodson WA Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
Katy Gallagher ACT Yes
Nita Green Queensland Yes
Kristina Keneally NSW Yes
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Tony Sheldon NSW Yes
Marielle Smith SA Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Jess Walsh Victoria Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Alex Gallacher SA Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Centre Alliance (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Stirling Griff SA Yes
Rex Patrick SA Yes
Sam McMahon NT Country Liberal Party No
Sue Lines WA Deputy President Yes
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Jacqui Lambie Network Yes
Liberal National Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
James McGrath Queensland No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 0 Yes 25 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Alex Antic SA No
Wendy Askew Tasmania No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Andrew Bragg NSW No
Slade Brockman WA No
Claire Chandler Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Sarah Henderson Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Matt O'Sullivan WA No
James Paterson Victoria No
Marise Payne NSW No
Gerard Rennick Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Paul Scarr Queensland No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Dean Smith WA No
Amanda Stoker Queensland No
David Van Victoria No
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Hollie Hughes NSW Absent
Jim Molan NSW Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Perin Davey NSW No
Susan McDonald Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Yes
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria President No
Totals (89% turnout) 36 Yes – 32 No