How Ian Macdonald voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase water allocations from the Murray-Darling Basin for farmers and other users

Division Ian Macdonald Supporters vote Division outcome

3rd Apr 2019, 1:03 PM – Senate Motions - Murray-Darling Basin - Repeal 1,500 GL limit

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by SA Senator Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but they are politically influential since they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That—

(1) The Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) the Murray Darling Royal Commission recommended that future water recovery for the environment, including the 450 GL, should be purchased through buyback, which requires repeal of the 1,500 GL cap on buybacks in section 85C of the Water Act 2007, and

(ii) the future environmental health of the Murray-Darling Basin relies on additional water recovery; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to support the urgent repeal of the 1,500 GL limit on Commonwealth water purchases.

(2) This resolution be communicated to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

No No Passed by a small majority

14th Feb 2019 – Senate Motions - Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission - Reform needed

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The majority voted in favour of paragraph (a)(i) to (iv) of a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Tim Storer (Independent), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't have any legal force on their own but are politically influential as they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Murray-Darling Basin needs more water to ensure its survival, the latest evidence of this being the fish-kills at Menindee Lakes,

(ii) the management of the Murray-Darling Basin requires urgent reform,

(iii) the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission delivered its findings on 29 January 2019, including recommendations to:

(A) improve transparency by "requiring real-time data sharing and publication on water extractions",

(B) abolish the water buybacks cap of 1,500 gigalitres, and

(C) undertake further research into return flows so that we know the effects of irrigation efficiency projects, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission delivered its findings to the Federal Government on 19 December 2018, pointing out that:

(A) the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's twin roles as overseer of the Plan and its regulator are "conflicted and the conflicts will intensity in the next five years", and

(B) structural separation of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority into a Basin Plan Regulator and Murray-Darling Basin Agency is required to ensure effective implementation of the Plan; and

...

No No Passed by a small majority

25th Jun 2018, 9:17 PM – Senate Water Amendment Bill 2018 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to pass the bill in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill a third time. Since it had already passed in the House of Representatives, it will now become law.

What does this bill do?

The bill was introduced to:

enable the Commonwealth Water Minister to direct the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to prepare an amendment to the Basin Plan 2012 (the Basin Plan) that is the same in effect as a Basin Plan amendment that has previously been disallowed, or taken to have been disallowed, by either House of Parliament.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes Passed by a modest majority

25th Jun 2018, 8:36 PM – Senate Water Amendment Bill 2018 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time, which means they can now discuss it in greater detail.

What does this bill do?

The bill was introduced to:

enable the Commonwealth Water Minister to direct the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to prepare an amendment to the Basin Plan 2012 (the Basin Plan) that is the same in effect as a Basin Plan amendment that has previously been disallowed, or taken to have been disallowed, by either House of Parliament.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes Passed by a modest majority

14th Feb 2018, 7:14 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Basin Plan Amendment Instrument 2017 (No. 1) - Disallow

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to disallow the Basin Plan Amendment Instrument 2017 (No. 1), which means that instrument will no longer have legal force.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA) explained that:

... we have a regulation before us in this place [that is, the Basin Plan Amendment Instrument 2017 (No. 1)] that suggests the Murray-Darling Basin Plan should be amended to take more water out of the river, to take more water off the environment and to hand it to big corporate irrigators upstream. It is rewarding bad behaviour. That is why today's vote is very, very important. Amongst this cesspool of water theft, corruption and mismanagement, why on earth would this parliament sign off on giving more water to the people who have behaved badly and less water to the river that desperately needs it?

No No Passed by a small majority

7th Feb 2013, 12:38 PM – Senate Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Buyback cap

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The majority voted against a Nationals amendment introduced by Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate.

The amendment would have inserted a new section 86AEA, titled "Limit on purchase of water access rights". This new section stated: The total amount of water access rights purchased by, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth since 2009, whether with amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account or otherwise for the purposes of the Basin Plan, must not exceed 1500 gigalitres.

Senator Joyce explained that this amendment "is about reinforcing the coalition's strong belief in the buyback cap",(See Senator Joyce's full explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here. The amendment is referred to as Nationals amendment (4) on sheet 7336 and the relevant discussion began at 12:31 pm. ) which was also reflected by an earlier Nationals amendment moved by Senator Joyce.(That amendment is available here. ) According to the Department of the Environment website: "Water buybacks obtain water for the environment from irrigators who offer their water entitlement for sale".(That website is available here. )

Background to the bill

The bill(A copy of the bill, its explanatory memoranda and amendments are available here. ) was introduced to establish an Environment Special Account to fund projects that protect and restore environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and protect water dependent biodiversity of the MDB.(Read more about the bill in this bills digest (696 KB).) The projects will include those that increase the available environmental water in the MDB by 450 Gigalitres.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

6th Feb 2013, 12:44 PM – Senate Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Timeframe

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The majority voted against a Greens amendment moved by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young explains that this amendment "go[es] to the time frame of this piece of legislation and the required timing of when the extra water—450 gigalitres—is to be returned."(See the rest of Senator Hanson-Young's contribution and related debate here. The amendment is referred to as the Greens amendments (7) and (10) to (16) on sheet 7314 and the relevant debate began at 12:37 pm. ) These amendments will bring forward the due date from 2024 to 2019.

Background to the bill

The bill(A copy of the bill, its explanatory memoranda and amendments are available here. ) was introduced to establish an Environment Special Account to fund projects that protect and restore environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and protect water dependent biodiversity of the MDB.(Read more about the bill in this bills digest (696 KB).) The projects will include those that increase the available environmental water in the MDB by 450 Gigalitres.

References

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

6th Feb 2013, 12:34 PM – Senate Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Up to 450 Gigalitres

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The majority voted against a Nationals amendment introduced by Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate.

This amendment replaces the wording of paragraph 86AA(3)(b) of the bill from "increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres" to "increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by up to 450 gigalitres". This amendment would reverse the effects of a previous amendment in the House of Representatives.(This amendment is available here. )

Senator Joyce argued that re-adding in the words "up to" would ensure that "we are not going to be tying people into an outcome which the reality is we do not have the money for".(Read the whole of Senator Joyce's contribution here and the associated debate here. The amendment is referred to as Nationals amendment number (1) on sheet 7337 and was discussed from 11:39 am. )

Background to the bill

The bill(A copy of the bill, its explanatory memoranda and amendments are available here. ) was introduced to establish an Environment Special Account to fund projects that protect and restore environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and protect water dependent biodiversity of the MDB.(Read more about the bill in this bills digest (696 KB).) The projects will include those that increase the available environmental water in the MDB by 450 Gigalitres.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

6th Feb 2013, 11:34 AM – Senate Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Socioeconomic outcomes

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The majority voted against a Nationals amendment introduced by Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate.

Senator Joyce argues that there should be "a balance between socioeconomic and environmental outcomes".(Read Senator Joyce's whole contribution and the associated debate here. The debate on this amendment, called the Nationals amendment numbers (1) and (2) on sheet 7336, began at 11:16 am. ) This amendment supports this by requiring that the objective of "enhanc[ing] the environmental outcomes that can be achieved by the Basin Plan" be pursued "while achieving neutral or beneficial socio-economic outcomes".(Read a copy of the bill here. The amendment was to add these quoted words at the end of subsection 86AA(1). ) Further, it adds an additional way to enhance these environmental outcomes by "(i) investing in water efficient infrastructure and other on-farm works".(This new subsection would have been added to the end of subsection 86AA(2), which you can see here. )

Background to the bill

The bill(A copy of the bill, its explanatory memoranda and amendments are available here. ) was introduced to establish an Environment Special Account to fund projects that protect and restore environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and protect water dependent biodiversity of the MDB.(Read more about the bill in this bills digest (696 KB).) The projects will include those that increase the available environmental water in the MDB by 450 Gigalitres.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

6th Feb 2013, 10:44 AM – Senate Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Buybacks

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The majority voted against a Nationals amendment introduced by Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate.

The amendment would have omitted paragraph 86AD(2)(b) from the bill. This paragraph states that: (2) Amounts standing to the credit of the Water for the Environment Special Account may be debited for any of the following purposes: ... (b) purchasing water access rights in relation to Basin water resources for the purpose of furthering the object of this Part.

This paragraph relates to a project to increase the available environmental water in the Murray-Darling Basin by 450 Gigalitres. Senator Joyce explains that this amendment "is to make sure that we remove from this extra 450 gigs the capacity for it to be attained through buyback".(Read the rest of Senator Joyce's explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here. ) According to the Department of the Environment website: "Water buybacks obtain water for the environment from irrigators who offer their water entitlement for sale".(That website is available here. )

Background to the bill

The bill(A copy of the bill, its explanatory memoranda and amendments are available here. ) was introduced to establish an Environment Special Account to fund projects that protect and restore environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and protect water dependent biodiversity of the MDB.(Read more about the bill in this bills digest (696 KB).) The projects will include those that increase the available environmental water in the MDB by 450 Gigalitres.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

21st Nov 2012, 10:36 AM – Senate Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Protection of communities

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The majority rejected an amendment moved by Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce.

The amendment stated that: "Any reduction in the long-term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a particular water resource plan area may only be achieved through the purchase of water access rights if the purchase of those rights will not cause apparent social or economic detriment to the district in the Murray-Darling Basin from which the water is retrieved."

Its purpose is to protect people who live in affected communities by ensuring that "their economic and social fabric is maintained and that we do not devastate their lives".(See Senator Joyce's contribution for more information about the amendment. )

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to make adjustments to the long-term average sustainable diversion limit set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.(See the bills digest (809KB) for more information on the bill and its purpose.) Sustainable diversion limits are the average water quantities that can be taken from the Murray-Darling basin sustainably and their aim is to return water to the environment.

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

21st Nov 2012, 9:39 AM – Senate Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Modelling

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The majority voted against an amendment moved by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

According the Senator Hanson-Young, the amendment requires "that there be basin-wide modelling done prior to any adjustment in the levels of sustainable diversion limits to ensure that we know exactly what the impact of the changes to that water recovery, either up or down, will actually be".(See Senator Hanson-Young's contribution for more information about what the amendment does. ) She said that this modelling must be available to the public, the affected communities and the parliament.

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to make adjustments to the long-term average sustainable diversion limit set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.(See the bills digest (809KB) for more information on the bill and its purpose.) Sustainable diversion limits are the average water quantities that can be taken from the Murray-Darling basin sustainably and their aim is to return water to the environment.

References

No No Not passed by a modest majority

21st Nov 2012 – Senate Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Adjustments

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The majority voted against an amendment moved by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

The amendment put a limit on proposed adjustments to sustainable diversion limits set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It stated that "One or more adjustments may be proposed by the [Murray Darling Basin] Authority ... only if the adjustment ... would not have the effect of reducing the volume of water available for the environment."(See Senator Hanson-Young's contribution for more information about the amendment. )

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to make adjustments to the long-term average sustainable diversion limit set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.(See the bills digest (809KB) for more information on the bill and its purpose.) Sustainable diversion limits are the average water quantities that can be taken from the Murray-Darling basin sustainably and their aim is to return water to the environment.

References

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

20th Nov 2012, 9:59 PM – Senate Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Adoption of amendments

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The majority voted against an amendment moved by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

The amendment outlines a number of key targets that the Greens believe will "ensure that we set a proper benchmark" for future long-term average sustainable diversion limits.(See Senator Hanson-Young's contribution for more information. ) For example, the amendment requires that the mouth of the River Murray "be open to an average annual depth of 1 metre or more for at least 95% of years and to an average annual depth of 0.7 metres or more for at least 95% of years".(This is section 6A(c)(iv) of amendment (5). )

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to make adjustments to the long-term average sustainable diversion limit set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.(See the bills digest (809KB) for more information on the bill and its purpose.) Sustainable diversion limits are the average water quantities that can be taken from the Murray-Darling basin sustainably and their aim is to return water to the environment.

References

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

20th Nov 2012, 9:41 PM – Senate Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Ground water amendment

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The majority voted against the Greens amendment that prevents any increase to ground water extraction unless certain assessment processes take place.

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

The amendment was introduced by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and its purpose is to adhere to a precautionary principle. It was introduced in the context of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and addresses a concern within the Greens Party that there is insufficient knowledge about the impact of groundwater extraction on surface water levels.

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to make adjustments to the long-term average sustainable diversion limit set by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.(See the bills digest (809KB) for more information on the bill and its purpose.) Sustainable diversion limits are the average water quantities that can be taken from the Murray-Darling basin sustainably and their aim is to return water to the environment.

References

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

20th Aug 2012, 3:42 PM – Senate Motions - Murray-Darling Basin - 4000 gigalitres required

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes the position statement on the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) draft plan launched by South Australian environmental groups, including the Conservation Council of South Australia, The Wilderness Society, Trees for Life, National Trust of South Australia, National Parks and Wildlife, Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and Friends of the Earth Adelaide, on 27 July 2012;

(b) notes that these groups identify that 4 000 GL must be returned to the river in accordance with the best available science to provide for healthy MDB communities and economies; and

(c) calls on the Government to instruct the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to model at least 4 000 GL against the requirements of the Water Act 2007 and undertake feasibility studies on constraints to delivering 4 000 GL as requested by the South Australian environmental groups.

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

9th May 2012, 4:02 PM – Senate Motions - Murray-Darling Basin - Average annual inflows

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The majority voted against this motion, which means it failed. It was introduced by National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has modelled the average annual inflows into the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) at 31 599 gigalitres,

(ii) the modelling of these inflows covers a 114 year period from 1895 to 2009,

(iii) the MDBA has not used the past 2 years of data on inflows in calculating the average inflows into the MDB as listed in the draft basin plan,

(iv) the past 2 years have seen record rainfall in the Murray Darling,

(v) the MDBA has acknowledged that including the 2010-12 river inflow data would change inflow calculations by 0.13 per cent or 32 gigalitres of water, and

(vi) the MDBA has stated that 'long term average inflows do not simply translate into estimates of sustainable diversion limits';

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

26th Mar 2007, 3:49 PM – Senate Motions - Murray-Darling Basin - Purchase water licences

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate:

(a) notes:

(i) the listing of the Murray-Darling Basin in the WWF study ‘World’s top 10 rivers at risk’,(The WWF study is available for download here. )

(ii) that threats such as invasive species, over-allocation and climate change are the reasons the river system has been listed as ‘at risk’, and

(iii) the report’s recommendations that returning significantly greater environmental flows to the river will have major benefits in reducing the prevalence of some invasive species and improving river health; and

(b) calls on the Government to begin purchasing water licences without further delay in order to return environmental flows to the Murray-Darling river system.(Read more about water security in Australia on Wikipedia.)

References

No No Not passed by a small majority

26th Mar 2007, 3:45 PM – Senate Motions - World Day for Water - South Australian wetlands

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate:

(a) notes:

(i) that Thursday, 22 March 2007, has been designated World Day for Water 2007, and that this year’s theme is ‘Coping with Water Scarcity’,(The official website for World Water Day 2007 is here. )

(ii) that the South Australian Government has indicated that it will cut water flows to nine key lakes, wetlands and lagoons if its water allocation falls below 50 per cent or weir levels cannot be sustained, and

(iii) the comments by Murray-Darling Basin Commission Chief Executive Wendy Craik, that climate change will have significant long-term impacts on inflows into the Murray-Darling river system; and(The Murray-Darling Basin Commission preceded the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Read more about the Commission here.)

(b) calls on the Government to ensure that:

(i) water allocations are acquired such that supplies to wetlands in South Australia, including Lake Bonney, Gurra Gurra Lakes, Horseshoe Lagoon, Ross Lagoon and Murbko South Wetland are maintained, and

(ii) water management plans in the Murray-Darling Basin are consistent with sustainable extraction levels and can take into account projections of reduced inflows into the basin due to climate change.

References

No No Not passed by a small majority

7th Dec 2006, 10:03 AM – Senate Motions - Wetlands and Floodplains - Murray Darling

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. This means that the motion is rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) important wetlands and floodplain areas in the Murray-Darling Basin face the threat of irretrievable ecological damage as a result of river diversions and unauthorised interception banks (in areas including, but not limited to, the Condamine, Ballonne and the southern Macquarie Marshes),

(ii) unregulated and unmetered off-stream water storage, such as Cubbie Station, places an unsustainable burden on our shared water resources and undermines efforts to manage limited resources in an equitable and sustainable fashion, and

(iii) while the drought has exacerbated this situation, even a cyclical improvement in drought conditions will not improve these threatened ecosystems while these diversions remain in place; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) work with the New South Wales and Queensland Governments to legislate and regulate to ensure uninterrupted environmental flows, and

(ii) look at options of buying out unsustainable operations such as Cubbie Station.

absent No Not passed by a large majority

How "voted strongly for" 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 12 120 120
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 8 8 16
Total: 128 136

*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 = 128 / 136 = 94%.

And then