How John Williams voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should give approval for new mines in the Liverpool Plains, such as the Shenhua Watermark coal mine

Division John Williams Supporters vote Division outcome

15th Nov 2017, 3:59 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas Mining: Liverpool Plains - Moratorium

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The majority voted against a motion calling for:

the Government to protect agricultural groundwater systems by placing a moratorium on Commonwealth approval of proposed coal and coal seam gas mining projects on the Liverpool Plains, Namoi Valley and Gunnedah Basin.

This means the motion failed.

Full motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) sustainable food and fibre production on the Liverpool Plains requires an integrated and strategic approach to water reform,

(ii) the Liverpool Plains contains some of the most productive and fertile soil in Australia and farmers need certainty about water resources to assist their farming practices, and

(iii) the high degree of connectivity between groundwater systems throughout the Namoi Valley indicates that mining impacts on Liverpool Plains groundwater can extend well beyond one local site into surrounding agricultural systems; and

(b) calls on the Government to protect agricultural groundwater systems by placing a moratorium on Commonwealth approval of proposed coal and coal seam gas mining projects on the Liverpool Plains, Namoi Valley and Gunnedah Basin.

absent No (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

10th Nov 2015, 3:55 PM – Senate Business - Coalmining - Oppose Shenhua Watermark coal mine

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

The motion opposed the government approvals of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the Liverpool Plains.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Shenhua Australia Holdings is seeking to develop a 35 square kilometre coal mine on the Liverpool Plains in north west New South Wales,

(ii) the Liverpool Plains is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation, with productivity 40 per cent above the national average,

(iii) the proposed mine threatens the most significant underground water resources in the Murray -Darling Basin, and farmers are dependent on access to these water resources for their survival,

(iv) if the mine proceeds it would:

(A) comprise three open-cut pits, plus associated infrastructure, to mine up to 10 million tonnes of coal per year for 30 years and rail infrastructure to take the coal to the Port of Newcastle for export, and

(B) destroy significant areas of local Indigenous heritage, including grinding grooves that were used by Gomeroi warriors to sharpen spears,

(v) the proposal to relocate Indigenous artefacts does not acknowledge connections to land and country,

(vi) as the price of coal is in structural decline it is irresponsible to risk valuable farming land for a coal mine when renewable energy is commercially viable, and

(vii) more than 750 people attended the Harvest Festival to support the call for no mining on the Liverpool Plains; and

(b) calls on:

(i) the Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, to reverse the Federal Government's approval of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine; and

(ii) the New South Wales Government not to grant a mining licence for the Shenhua Watermark coal mine.

absent No (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

3rd Mar 2015 – Senate Motions — Liverpool Plains

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Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters moved that the Senate:

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the Liverpool Plains is one of the most important agricultural regions in Australia with rare and highly productive black soils, excellent water resources and a favourable local climate,

  • (ii) farming has occurred on the Liverpool Plains for generations and the agricultural productivity of the area is up to 40 per cent above the national average for all farming regions of Australia,

  • (iii) highly productive agricultural land, like that of the Liverpool Plains, is a finite resource,

  • (iv) the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission has recently approved the development of Chinese state-owned company Shenhua's Watermark open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, which will extract 268 million tonnes of coal over 30 years, 3 kilometres from the town of Breeza,

  • (v) farmers in the region are angry and extremely concerned that if this coal mine goes ahead their soils and the highly interconnected groundwater aquifers they rely on will be irreversibly damaged,

  • (vi) the Northern Daily Leader reported on 4 July 2014 That the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Joyce) said, 'I think the idea of a coalmine on the Breeza Plains is an absurdity' and 'I think it's most likely that it's going to have a deleterious effect on the aquifers', and

  • (vii) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on 9 September 2014 that the Minister for Agriculture said of the Liverpool Plains, 'I've always said from the start that I don't believe that it is the appropriate place for a coal mine'; and

(b) believes That the Liverpool Plains should be permanently off limits to coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.

absent No (strong) 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 John Williams 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.