The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree to the bill, as amended.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority agreed with the bill and they can now decide on whether to pass it in the House of Representatives.
Background to the bill
The bill was introduced "to establish an independent expert panel to conduct an assessment into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a declared commercial fishing activity and to prohibit the declared commercial fishing activity while the assessment is undertaken".(Read more about the bill, including the text of the bill and its explanatory memoranda, here. )
It was introduced following the controversial arrival of the super trawler FV Margiris into Australian waters. Opponents to the trawler argue that its presence "will cause localised overfishing and could drive away bluefin tuna".(Read more about the arguments against the super trawler here. ) Supporters disagree, saying the trawler's quota is sustainable.(As above. ) Environment Minister Tony Burke position was there "there was significant uncertainty regarding the impact of such a large fishing vessel on the marine environment",(Read more in the bills digest.) hence the need for an assessment into the potential impacts.