How Sam Dastyari voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation that increases the protection of Australia's fresh water resources, including its river and groundwater systems

Division Sam Dastyari 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.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

24th Nov 2014, 5:06 PM – Senate Motions - Foreign Investment - Limit foreign investment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which would have put further limits on foreign investment.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate

(a) notes:

(i) the Free Trade memorandum of understanding [63.5KB] signed between Australia and China, and

(ii) that climate change, with its consequent global food insecurity, is driving governments to acquire land and water outside their own borders as sources of food supply; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) create a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land and water assets to continuously track overseas purchases,

(ii) lower the threshold from $248 million to $5 million for consideration of the national interest by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for purchases of agricultural land and water by a foreign private entity,

(iii) legislate a stronger national interest test to be applied by the FIRB for purchases of agricultural land and water resources, and

(iv) prohibit the purchase of agricultural land and water by wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign governments.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Sep 2014, 1:38 PM – Senate Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Independent study before grant of mining licences

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. The motion would have removed schedule 5 from the commencement provisions of the bill so that it does not commence with the rest of the schedules and therefore remains ineffective.

Schedule 5 contains environmental provisions, including a provision that repeals section 255AA of the Water Act 2007, which "requires an independent study to be undertaken before the grant of mining licences on floodplains in the Murray-Darling system". (Read more about Schedule 5 and this particular provision in the bills digest. )

Senator Waters explained that with this schedule, the government is proposing "to allow companies to proceed with mining of gold, silver, copper—a whole host of mines that can have subsidence impacts—without doing the independent study on groundwater that existing section 255AA of the Water Act requires them to do" (see Senator Waters' full explanation here).

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to "reduce regulatory burden for business, individuals and the community sector" (see the explanatory memorandum) and to repeal redundant provisions that are either duplications or have ceased to have effect. The provisions of the bill that make material changes have been identified and discussed in the bills digest.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Sep 2014, 1:32 PM – Senate Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Independent study before grant of mining licences

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that schedule 5 "stand as printed" (i.e. that schedule 5 remain unchanged). Schedule 5 contained environmental provisions, including the repeal of section 255AA of the Water Act 2007, which "requires an independent study to be undertaken before the grant of mining licences on floodplains in the Murray-Darling system". (Read more about Schedule 5 and this particular provision in the bills digest.)

This motion was put in response to an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which called for schedule 5 to be opposed. Senator Waters explained that with this schedule, the government is proposing "to allow companies to proceed with mining of gold, silver, copper—a whole host of mines that can have subsidence impacts—without doing the independent study on groundwater that existing section 255AA of the Water Act requires them to do" (see Senator Waters' full explanation here).

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to "reduce regulatory burden for business, individuals and the community sector" (see the explanatory memorandum) and to repeal redundant provisions that are either duplications or have ceased to have effect. The provisions of the bill that make material changes have been identified and discussed in the bills digest.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

17th Jul 2014, 12:07 PM – Senate Motions - National Water Commission - Reverse position on closure

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens), which means it passed. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) water is one of our most important resources and is critical to Australia's economic growth,

(ii) the National Water Commission (the Commission) plays a crucial role in monitoring, auditing and assessing water policy,

(iii) the independence of the Commission is vital to its effectiveness, and

(iv) the 2011 Council of Australian Governments review of the Commission stated that it should continue 'for the lifetime of the NWI' and 'without sunset provision until the NWI is substantially replaced'; and

(b) calls on the Government to reverse its position on the closure of the Commission.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

15th May 2014, 12:14 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Bentley blockade

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The majority rejected the motion to support the Bentley blockade against gas exploration, which means that it was rejected. It was introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

Text of the motion

That the Senate-

(a)   notes:

(i)   the huge community opposition to Metgasco's plans to drill for tight gas near Bentley in New South Wales,

(ii)   that tight gas extraction involves hydraulic fracking which risks precious water resources, and

(iii)   that 84.5 per cent of Bentley locals want their lands and road gas-field free;

(b)   congratulates the Bentley blockaders for their commitment to protecting their land, water, the climate and regional communities from big gas; and

(c)   calls on:

(i)   the New South Wales Government to respect the rights of protesters to peacefully protest, and to respond to the community's valid concerns by revoking Metgasco's gas exploration permit, and

(ii)   the Australian Government to extend the current protections for water resources under our national environment laws to all unconventional gas, to give landholders the right to say no to gas mining on their land, and to not hand responsibility for protecting land and water from big gas to state governments.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

6th Mar 2014, 11:40 AM – Senate Landholders' Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority disagreed with the bill's main idea (in other words, they voted against reading the bill for a second time). This means that the bill was rejected and won't be considered further.

Main idea of the bill

The bill would have given landholders the right to say no to gas and coal mining activities by corporations on food producing land, unless the corporations had written authorisation that followed particular requirements.

Background to the bill

Greens Senator Larissa Waters introduced the bill as a private member's bill. She believed that the bill was necessary because the efforts in Queensland and New South Wales to protect prime agricultural land had failed to protect farmers (see ABC News). You can watch Senator Waters' second reading speech on youtube.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted moderately against" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 4 0 40
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 2 2 4
Total: 12 54

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 12 / 54 = 22%.

And then