How Ian Macdonald voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should address the causes and consequences of climate change as a matter of urgency by, for example, lowering emissions and investing in science and technology

Division Ian Macdonald Supporters vote Division outcome

4th Dec 2018, 6:19 PM – Senate Matters of Urgency - Climate Change - Coal exports

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Larissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) moved a motion:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.

This was one of ten proposed motions received by the senate before 8:30 am and was selected by lot in accordance of standing order 75.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

28th Nov 2018, 3:55 PM – Senate Motions - Coalmines in the Galilee Basin - Refuse

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters (Qld), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that MacMines Austasia 20,000-hectare China Stone thermal coal project in the Galilee Basin is one step closer to approval,

(ii) that this mine is expected to export 38 million tonnes of coal annually,

(iii) that this single Galilee Basin project is estimated to produce 128.4 metric tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to 23% of Australia's total domestic emissions in 2017, or about ten years' worth of Australia's domestic emissions over the lifetime of the mine,

(iv) that, this week, large parts of north and far north Queensland are in a severe heatwave with indication that the heatwave will spread west to the Northern Territory border,

(v) that temperature records for many Queensland towns have been broken,

(vi) that about 1500 people have been displaced, up to 600 evacuated and at least four houses lost, as unprecedented bushfires continue to burn in the Deepwater National Park region, south of Gladstone,

(vii) the emotional trauma and financial hardship that these sorts of extreme weather events can inflict on our communities,

(viii) that the work of emergency services and volunteers is to be commended,

(ix) that the Galilee Basin has 9 mega coal mines proposed, including the Adani Carmichael mine, China Stone mine, Alpha Coal Project, Kevin's Corner Project, Degulla Coal, Alpha West, Alpha North, Galilee (China First) Coal Project and South Galilee Coal Mine,

(x) that there is undeniable evidence that CO2 emissions are driving dangerous global warming which is causing extreme weather conditions unlike any we have ever seen before, and

(xi) that unless we take urgent action to stop global warming, bushfires, flooding, drought, heat waves will become more frequent and increasingly severe; and

(b) calls on the Minister for the Environment to:

(i) urgently take proactive measures against global warming,

(ii) refuse federal environmental approval for MacMines' China Stone thermal coal mine, and

(iii) not approve any coal mines in the Galilee Basin.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Nov 2018, 5:11 PM – Senate Motions - School Strike 4 Climate Action - National climate and energy policy

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John (WA) also on behalf of Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi (NSW). Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but can be politically influential as they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) this Friday, 30 November 2018, students from the movement 'School Strike 4 Climate Action' will hold a national school strike, and

(ii) young people will live with the effects of climate change for the longest time and that, therefore, their voices and their concerns must be heard in the debate;

(b) commends all students across Australia for their commitment to action on climate change; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to put in place a national climate and energy policy.

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

26th Nov 2018, 3:47 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - Develop and implement a serious policy

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but can be politically influential since they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes the Flinders University research published in Nature's Scientific Reports, which shows that 'climate change and human activity are dooming species at an unprecedented rate via a plethora of direct and indirect, often synergic, mechanisms';

(b) notes that climate change is, without a doubt, the biggest threat to life on our planet; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a serious climate and energy policy, with a plan to reduce carbon pollution and overhaul our environmental laws to protect life on earth.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

12th Nov 2018, 4:26 PM – Senate Motions - Minister for the Environment - Apologise to Kiribati President

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it passed. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but can be politically influential since they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Minister for the Environment, Ms Price, made offensive remarks to former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong;

(b) further notes that former President Tong has a long history of advocating on behalf of his people, his country and the Pacific, who will be first and worst affected by climate change; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to apologise to former President Tong, commend him for his heroic actions on behalf of his people, and take seriously the threat of climate change in the Pacific region.

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

16th Oct 2018, 4:30 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - Donations, climate policy and Adani

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters (Qld), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts that warming of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels will see the death of 100 per cent of coral reefs globally, and that warming of 1.5°C will see 90 per cent of coral reefs die,

(ii) that the IPCC forecasts that warming is likely to reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at the current trajectory,

(iii) the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report, released on 18 September 2018, Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Coral Reefs: Update to the First Global Scientific Assessment, which confirms that remaining within 1.5°C climate target is critical for survival of World Heritage-listed coral reefs,

(iv) the statement by the Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Board during the Brisbane hearing of the inquiry into the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program, that "many reefs around the world are classified as in danger, regardless of whether UNESCO has them listed", and

(v) that 64 000 people rely on jobs supported by the Great Barrier Reef; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) ban corporate donations to political parties from the fossil fuel industry, an industry which financially benefits from this Government's lack of action on climate change,

(ii) get a climate policy that limits global warming to 1 degrees to protect the Great Barrier Reef and Australians from extreme weather events, and

(iii) revoke all federal approvals for the Adani Carmichael mine, and not approve any new coal in Australia.

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

15th Aug 2018, 5:21 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Product Emissions Standards (Excise) Charges Regulations 2018, Product Emissions Standards (Customs) Charges Regulations 2018 - Disallow

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The majority voted against a motion to disallow two regulations, which means it failed. These regulations address the negative impacts of air pollution from certain products on human and environmental health.

This motion was moved by South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, who explained that:

In essence, they [the regulations] are the carbon tax on whipper-snippers, lawnmowers and outboard engines that were identified at the very passage of this bill and yet they were blithely championed through and sponsored through in the absence of a great deal of information and supported by people who said they had nothing whatsoever to do with the climate agreement reached in Paris. They were wrong.

Motion text

That the Product Emissions Standards (Excise) Charges Regulations 2018, made under the Product Emissions Standards (Excise) Charges Act 2017, and the Product Emissions Standards (Customs) Charges Regulations 2018, made under the Product Emissions Standards (Customs) Charges Act 2017, be disallowed.

absent No Not passed by a large majority

14th Aug 2018, 3:59 PM – Senate Motions - Paris Agreement - Withdraw

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The majority voted against a motion to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that the United States of America has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement; and

(b) calls upon the Australian Government to also withdraw from the Agreement, and cease taking any steps towards enacting at law or by policy any steps towards the Agreement's targets.

absent No Not passed by a large majority

15th Feb 2018, 12:07 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - Action

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The majority voted against this motion, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) welcomes the visit by a delegation of leaders from the Kiribati Climate Action Network and the Kiribati Ministry of Education;

(b) notes the strong bonds that exists between the people of Australia and the people of Kiribati;

(c) notes, with deep concern, the impacts that climate change is already having on Kiribati, including soil erosion and salinity, which is affecting crops and drinking water;

(d) is further concerned at reports from the 23th United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2017, that the Australian delegation pushed back against poorer countries, including Kiribati, who were calling for more funding for loss and damage caused by climate change; and

(e) calls on the Government to:

(i) increase its support to Pacific Island nations, including Kiribati, through climate finance that is separate and additional to our existing official development assistance budget,

(ii) significantly increase our commitments to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement in 2018, and take into account loss and damage caused by climate change, and

(iii) commit to no new coal mines in Australia, and rule out Adani's Carmichael coal mine.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Sep 2017, 5:38 PM – Senate Motions - Energy - Transition for coal workforce required

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) considers coal-fired power stations in Australia will need to close in order to deal with climate change; and

(b) notes that the Government must have a plan for a managed transition of the workforce and to a clean energy future.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

5th Sep 2017, 5:02 PM – Senate Motions - Energy - Coal not clean

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The majority voted in favour of a motion: That the Senate does not consider coal-fired power to be clean.

This motion was introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens) also on behalf of Victorian Senator Richard Di Natale (Greens).

No Yes Passed by a small majority

19th Apr 2016, 7:39 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - End fossil fuel political donations

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The majority voted against a motion, which was introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. The motion called on all political parties to ban and refuse to accept fossil fuel donations.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the unprecedented coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef which the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority describes as the worst ever mass bleaching event,

(ii) the devastating bushfires affecting areas of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area which have not been burned in centuries and which may never recover,

(iii) the fact that 2014 and 2015 were both the hottest year on record, and that the United Kingdom Meteorological Office predicts that 2016 will also be the hottest year on record,

(iv) that ordinary Australians are leading the way in calling for action on global warming, in particular, the students at the University of Queensland who have occupied the Chancellery Building calling on the University to divest from fossil fuels, and

(v) that fossil fuel companies have made $3.7 million in political donations to the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party since the 2013 election; and

(b) calls on all political parties to:

(i) support a legislative ban on fossil fuel donations, and

(ii) refuse to accept any more fossil fuel donations.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

3rd Dec 2014, 4:00 PM – Senate Motions - Environment - Set national targets for emissions reductions

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The majority voted against a motion on setting a national target for the reduction of carbon emissions, which was introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne.

Wording of motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that Australia must declare, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by March 2015;

(b) acknowledges the comprehensive targets and progress review of the Climate Change Authority which recommends Australia commit to a 30 to 40 per cent reduction below 2000 level emissions by 2025 and a 40 to 60 per cent reduction by 2030; and

(c) urges the Australian Government to not obstruct constructive progress in the Lima Conference of the Parties and set national targets consistent with the Climate Change Authority's recommended range.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

28th Oct 2014, 4:07 PM – Senate Motions - Mining - Acknowledge massive economic benefits

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The majority supported acknowledging "the massive economic benefits" of the black coal mining industry.

Wording of the motion

National Party Senator Barry O'Sullivan wanted the Senate to acknowledge:

the massive economic benefits delivered to this nation by the black coal industry and the importance it has for the employment fortunes of miners and other professionals in this nation, noting that Australia should maintain a diverse and sensible energy mix.

Background to the motion

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Government has been criticised for being too in favour of coal mining at the expense of addressing climate change (for example, see ABC News).

absent No Passed by a modest majority

22nd Sep 2014, 5:14 PM – Senate Matters of Urgency - Climate Change - Climate Change Summit and emissions reduction target

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The majority voted against a motion moved by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which was:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

"The need for the Prime minister to attend the United Nations Climate Summit 2014,(Read more about the UN Climate Summit 2014 on its website here. ) and to recognise that Australia's emissions reduction target is inadequate."

This means that the majority disagree with this motion and that it was rejected.

Background to the motion

The 2014 Climate Change Summit was announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2013 and takes place on 23 September 2014 in New York. It is a meeting on climate change with a focus on initiatives and actions. Secretary-General Ban invited leaders of governments, the private sector and civil society with the aim of these leaders using the Summit as a public platform.(Read more about the Summit on its website here.)

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

15th Jul 2014, 9:31 PM – Senate Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014 and related bills - Second Reading - Protect from climate change

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This division relates to the Policy For a carbon price.

The majority voted against an amendment moved by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which would have amended the original motion "That these bills be now read a second time" with the following:

At the end of the motion, add:

but the Senate

(a) condemns this Bill and the related Bills;

(b) recognises that:

(i) the world is on track for 4 degrees of warming; and

(ii) warming of less than 1 degree is already intensifying extreme weather events in Australia and around the world with enormous costs to life and property;

(c) calls on the government to:

(i) protect the Australian people and environment from climate change by approving no new coal mines or extensions of existing mines, or new coal export terminals; and

(ii) adopt a trajectory of 40-60% below 2000 levels by 2030 and net carbon zero by 2050 emissions reduction target in global negotiations for a 2015 treaty.

Because the majority voted against this amendment, it was rejected.

Background to the bills

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014 and related bills were introduced to remove the carbon pricing mechanism, which was introduced by the Australian Labor Party while in government. The Coalition described the mechanism as a “carbon tax” and removing it was a key policy platform during the 2013 election.(You can read more about the Coalition's policy to remove the carbon price here. )

The carbon pricing mechanism commenced on 1 July 2012.(For more information on the carbon pricing mechanism and how it works, please see the Clean Energy Regulator’s website. ) It is an emissions trading scheme that puts a price on carbon emissions. It applies to “liable entities” (a group that includes companies that emit a high level of greenhouse gases). Initially the price of carbon is fixed by the mechanism but from 1 July 2015 the price will be set by the market, though the Labor Government did announce plans to bring this forward to 1 July 2014 just before they were defeated by the Coalition in the 2013 election.

This is the third time that this package of bills have been introduced. The first time, they were rejected in the Senate during the third reading stage.(See that division here. ) The second time, they were rejected in the Senate during the committee stage.(See that division here. Read more about this second rejection of this package of bills on ABC News here or on the World Today here.)

The bills included in this package are the following:

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

17th Mar 2014, 1:46 PM – Senate Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and related bills - Second Reading - Protect Australia from climate change

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

The motion was for an amendment to be added to the end of the original motion, which was "That these bills be now read a second time."

The words were:

but the Senate:

(a) rejects this bill and the related bills;

(b) recognises that:

(i) the world is on track for 4 degrees of warming; and

(ii) warming of less than 1 degree is already intensifying extreme weather events in Australia and around the world with enormous costs to life and property;

(c) calls on the government to:

(i) protect the Australian people and environment from climate change by approving no new coal mines or extensions of existing mines, or new coal export terminals; and

(ii) adopt a trajectory of 40-60% below 2000 levels by 2030 and net carbon zero by 2050 emissions reduction target in global negotiations for a 2015 treaty.

Background to the bills

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and related bills were introduced as a package to remove the carbon pricing mechanism, which was introduced by the Australian Labor Party while in government. The Coalition described the mechanism as a “carbon tax” and removing it was a key policy platform during the 2013 election.(You can read more about the Coalition's policy to remove the carbon price here. )

The carbon pricing mechanism commenced on 1 July 2012.(For more information on the carbon pricing mechanism and how it works, please see the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.) It is an emissions trading scheme that puts a price on carbon emissions. It applies to “liable entities” (a group that includes companies that emit a high level of greenhouse gases). Initially the price of carbon is fixed by the mechanism but from 1 July 2015 the price will be set by the market, though the Labor Government did announce plans to bring this forward to 1 July 2014 just before they were defeated by the Coalition in the 2013 election.

The ten other related bills are:

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

27th Feb 2013, 4:15 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change and National Security - Address in Defence White Paper

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator for Tasmania Christine Milne, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) on 25 February 2013, 38 retired generals and admirals from the United States of America (US), and prominent national security experts, presented a letter calling on US policymakers to recognise the security effects of climate change and the undeniable consequences and costs of inaction in addressing climate change for vulnerable nations,

(ii) the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in 2007 called on the 2009 Defence White Paper to examine the full implication of climate change for the Australian Defence Force, and

(iii) the brief acknowledgement in the 2009 Defence White Paper that climate change has the potential to be a destabilising global force erroneously concludes that the strategic consequences of climate change will not be felt before 2030; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) recognise the undeniable security implications of climate change, the costs and consequences of inaction, and

(ii) ensure that the Defence White Paper, due to be released in May 2013, addresses the fact that climate change is shaping the contemporary security climate, is a driver of conflict and should guide procurement and deployment in Australia's national security.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Nov 2008, 9:41 AM – Senate Motions - White Paper on Global Population - Develop

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator for Tasmania Bob Brown, which means the motion failed.

Motion text

That the Senate calls on the Government to develop a white paper on population during this period of government which takes into account:

(a) projections of a global population of between 9 to 10 billion people by 2050;

(b) the inability of the Earth to provide for 9 to 10 billion people if average resource consumption is to be at current levels in Australia;

(c) climate change;

(d) Australia’s inability to host exponential population growth; and

(e) the wellbeing of future generations and life on Earth.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

24th Jun 2008, 3:48 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - Act on conference conclusions

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The majority voted against a motion, so it was unsuccessful. It was introduced by Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison (Vic).

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that on 11 June and 12 June 2008 citizens and scientists came together in Canberra for the 2008 Manning Clark House Conference ‘Imagining the Real Life on a Greenhouse Earth’ [PDF, 1.2MB], in honour of former federal Minister, the Honourable Dr Barry Jones, AO, and concluded that:

(i) global warming is accelerating,

(ii) the Arctic summer sea ice is expected to melt entirely within the next 5 years, decades earlier than predicted in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007),

(iii) scientists judge the risks to humanity of dangerous global warming to be high,

(iv) the loss of the Great Barrier Reef now seems likely,

(v) extreme weather events, such as storm surges adding to rising sea levels and threatening coastal cities, will become more frequent,

(vi) there is a real danger that we have reached or will soon reach critical tipping points and the future will be taken out of our hands – the melting Arctic sea ice could be the first such tipping point,

(vii) beyond 2ºC of warming seems inevitable, unless greenhouse gas reduction targets are tightened, and we risk huge human and societal costs, and perhaps even the effective end of industrial civilisation,

(viii) we need to cease our assault on our own life support system and that of millions of species, and that global warming is only one of many symptoms of that assault,

(ix) peak oil, global warming and long-term sustainability pressures all require that we reduce energy needs and switch to renewable energy sources and many credible studies show that Australia can quickly and cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions through dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and by increasing Australia’s investment in solar, wind and other renewable sources,

(x) the need for action is extremely urgent and the window of opportunity for avoiding severe impacts is rapidly closing, yet the obstacles to change are not technical or economic, they are political and social, and

(xi) democratic societies have responded successfully to dire and immediate threats, as was demonstrated in World War II and this is a last call for an effective response to global warming;

(b) thanks the delegates of this conference, including Professor Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins, Dr Geoff Davies, Dr Andrew Glikson and Mr Sebastian Clark for their efforts in drawing this warning to the Senate’s attention; and

(c) urges the Government to act on these conclusions.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

How "voted strongly 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 4 0 200
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 7 0 70
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 8 8 16
Total: 33 336

*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 = 33 / 336 = 9.8%.

And then