The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan (LNP), which means it failed.

This was a free vote (also known as a conscience vote), which means our senators voted according to their own beliefs rather than strictly along party lines.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 17, page 34 (after line 11), at the end of Division 4A, add:

Subdivision G — Other requirements relating to mitochondrial donation licences

28Y Annual reports

(1) The NHMRC Licensing Committee must, within 1 month after the end of each reporting period, give the Minister a report in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) The report must include the following de-identified information in relation to the reporting period:

(a) the number of each kind of mitochondrial donation licence issued under section 28J; and

(b) the outcomes of the activities carried out under each licence issued under section 28J, including:

(i) the number of births of children as a result of pregnancies achieved using a mitochondrial donation technique under a clinical trial licence or a clinical practice licence; and

(ii) the number of adverse events notified to the NHMRC Licensing Committee under paragraph 28S(3)(a); and

(c) all clinical data obtained as a result of the activities carried out under each licence issued under section 28J, including:

(i) experimental data obtained from the use of the permitted technique specified in the licence; and

(ii) clinical data about each child born as a result of a pregnancy achieved using the permitted technique specified in the licence.

(3) The Minister must table a copy of the report in each House of the Parliament within 10 sitting days of that House after receiving the report.

(4) For the purposes of this section:

(a) each of the following periods is a reporting period:

(i) the period of 12 months beginning on the day this section commences; and

(ii) each subsequent period of 12 months; and

(b) information is de-identified if the information is no longer about an identifiable individual or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.

What does this bill do?

According to the bills digest:

Mitochondrial disease is a group of conditions that can cause serious health issues and, in severe cases, can cause death in childhood. There is no known cure for mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial donation is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that can assist women to avoid passing mitochondrial DNA disease to their biological child. This technology is not a cure for mitochondrial disease but is rather a way to prevent children from inheriting mitochondria that can cause mitochondrial disease.

Under the current legislative framework, mitochondrial donation is illegal under the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 (Cth) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (Cth). The Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 (the Bill) amends relevant Acts and associated Regulations to make mitochondrial donation legal for research, training and human reproductive purposes. The overall aim is for women at risk of passing on mitochondrial disease to have reproductive options for biological children without the increased risk of their child having mitochondrial disease.

Primarily the Bill makes changes to ensure that it is no longer an offence to create, for the purposes of reproduction, and under the relevant mitochondrial donation licences, a human embryo that:

  • contains the genetic material of more than two people and
  • contains heritable changes to the genome.

Read more in the bills digest.

Votes Not passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Dorinda Cox WA No
Mehreen Faruqi NSW No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Nick McKim Tasmania No
Janet Rice Victoria No
Jordon Steele-John WA No
Lidia Thorpe Victoria No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Australian Labor Party (76% turnout) 4 Yes 15 No
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Raff Ciccone Victoria Yes
Don Farrell SA Yes
Kristina Keneally NSW Yes
Tim Ayres NSW No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Patrick Dodson WA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Karen Grogan SA No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Louise Pratt WA No
Tony Sheldon NSW No
Marielle Smith SA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Jess Walsh Victoria No
Murray Watt Queensland No
Nita Green Queensland Absent
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Absent
Deborah O'Neill NSW Absent
Helen Polley Tasmania Absent
Glenn Sterle WA Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Stirling Griff SA Centre Alliance No
Sam McMahon NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President No
Rex Patrick SA Independent No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Jacqui Lambie Network Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Yes
James McGrath Queensland Yes
Liberal Party (76% turnout) 14 Yes 8 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Alex Antic SA Yes
Wendy Askew Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Claire Chandler Tasmania Yes
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Andrew McLachlan SA Yes
Greg Mirabella Victoria Yes
Matt O'Sullivan WA Yes
Gerard Rennick Queensland Yes
Zed Seselja ACT Yes
Amanda Stoker Queensland Yes
Simon Birmingham SA No
Andrew Bragg NSW No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Sarah Henderson Victoria No
Hollie Hughes NSW No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Jim Molan NSW No
Marise Payne NSW No
James Paterson Victoria Absent
Linda Reynolds WA Absent
Anne Ruston SA Absent
Paul Scarr Queensland Absent
Ben Small WA Absent
Dean Smith WA Absent
David Van Victoria Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 3 Yes 0 No
Perin Davey NSW Yes
Susan McDonald Queensland Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Yes
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Slade Brockman WA President Yes
Totals (82% turnout) 27 Yes – 35 No