How Bill Heffernan voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China to create more favourable trading conditions between China and Australia

Division Bill Heffernan Supporters vote Division outcome

9th Nov 2015, 6:14 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2015 and related bill - Third Reading - Pass the bills

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The majority voted to pass the bills in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a third time.

Because the bills have already passed in the House of representatives, they will now become law.

What do the bills do?

Together, these bills implement the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement into Australian law. This Agreement does not remove all tariffs, subsidies, quotas etc between Australia and China (so it's not really free trade), but it does create more favourable trading conditions between the two countries.

Read more about the Agreement and the bills in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2015, 1:48 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2015 and related bill - Second Reading - Agree with bills' main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the bills' main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a second time.

The Senate can now discuss the bills in more detail.

What is the bills' main idea?

Together, the purpose of these bills is to implement the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement into Australian law. This Agreement does not remove all tariffs, subsidies, quotas etc between Australia and China (so it's not really free trade), but it does create more favourable trading conditions between the two countries.

Read more about the Agreement and the bills in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

20th Aug 2015, 12:25 PM – Senate Motions - China-Australia Free Trade Agreement - Renegotiate or abandon

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Independent Senator John Madigan (Vic), which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the importance of trade with China to the Australian economy,

(ii) that on 17 June 2015, Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment (Mr Robb) and China's Minister of Commerce (Mr Gao Hucheng) signed the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA),

(iii) that Article 10.4 of ChAFTA, in combination with other provisions, removes the requirement for Chinese companies operating in Australia to carry out 'labour market testing', 'economic needs testing' or 'other procedures of similar effect' before nominating foreign workers on temporary 457 work visas,

(iv) that a letter from the Minister for Trade and Investment to Mr Hucheng, dated 17 June 2015, which is stated to form part of ChAFTA, removes requirements for mandatory skills assessments for Chinese nationals entering Australia on certain types of temporary 457 work visas for ten occupations, including automotive electricians, general electricians and motor mechanics,

(v) that Chapter 9 of ChAFTA includes Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions of the type that have been utilised by foreign companies to bring claims against governments for legislative changes made for legitimate public purposes, such as the current claim by Phillip Morris against the Australian Government seeking compensation in relation to tobacco plain packaging legislation, and

(vi) that these aspects of ChAFTA are contrary to the national interest as they will cost Australian jobs, undermine the regulatory framework that ensures the safety of Australian worksites, and constrain the legislative process; and

(b) calls on the Government to renegotiate ChAFTA so as to remove these aspects of the agreement, or, alternatively, to abandon the agreement by not ratifying it.

absent No Not passed by a modest 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 Bill Heffernan 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.