How Tony Abbott voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation and regulations that protect and conserve Australia's marine ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef

Division Tony Abbott Supporters vote Division outcome

16th Jun 2014, 8:07 PM – Representatives Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read this bill for a second time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become a law here. ) This means that the majority agree with the main idea of the bill and that they can now discuss it in more detail.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in relation to bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and Australian states and territories.(Read more about bilateral agreements here. ) The bill provides for the following:

  • states and territories can be accredited for approval decisions on large coal mining and coal seam gas developments likely to have a significant impact on a water resource;
  • all states and territories can be declared under the Act for the purposes of requesting advice from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee;
  • an approval process can be completed when an approval bilateral agreement is suspended, cancelled or ceases to apply to a particular action;
  • state and territory processes that meet the appropriate standards can be accredited for bilateral agreements;
  • a relevant bilateral agreement continues to apply to an accredited state or territory management arrangement or authorisation process despite minor amendments to the arrangement or authorisation process; and
  • proponents do not need to make referrals to the Commonwealth for actions that are covered by an approval bilateral agreement.(Find out more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here.)

These amendments all relate to the Australian Government's one stop shop policy for environmental approvals.(Read more about the one stop shop policy on ABC News and The Conversation.)

absent No Passed by a small majority

9th Dec 2013, 8:35 PM – Representatives Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 - Consideration in Detail - Keep power to make major environmental approvals with federal minister

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The majority voted against an amendment that would ensure that the federal government kept the power to make major environmental approvals rather than handing that power over to state governments. The amendment was introduced by Greens MP Adam Bandt.

This means that the majority of MPs disagreed with the amendment.

Debate in Parliament

  • Liberal MP Greg Hunt said that the government rejects the amendment because "we support one-stop shops".

  • Labor MP Mark Butler said that the Labor Party supported the amendment because the national environment minister should always have the capacity to deal with matters of national environmental significance.

Background to the bill

The Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced in response to the Federal Court’s decision in Tarkine National Coalition Incorporated v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities () FCA 694.(The Tarkine is an area in north west Tasmania. For more information on the case, see this case note. The case is available to read on AustLII.)

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Tony Abbott was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.