How James McGrath voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation and regulations that protect and conserve Australia's marine ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef

Division James McGrath Supporters vote Division outcome

17th Jun 2020, 4:00 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Protect Ningaloo Reef, Shark Bay, and the Exmouth Gulf

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that, as part of the acreage release process, the Government is asking industry to nominate areas they are interested in for oil and gas exploration around Ningaloo Reef, Shark Bay, and the Exmouth Gulf;

(b) acknowledges that:

(i) the Exmouth Gulf is a rare and precious estuarine system and crucial to the health of the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef,

(ii) Ningaloo Reef is one of the world's last healthy coral reefs and is home to humpback whales, whale sharks, dugongs, sawfish, turtles, and seagrass,

(iii) Shark Bay is World Heritage listed, satisfying all four criteria for natural heritage values, and is home to stromatolites which are among the oldest forms of life on earth,

(iv) any seismic exploration and drilling could have a devastating environmental impact on these areas, and

(v) areas south of the Pilbara are too environmentally sensitive to risk; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to remove Ningaloo Reef, Shark Bay, and the Exmouth Gulf from the acreage release process.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Feb 2020, 12:31 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Climate change

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Great Barrier Reef supports approximately 64,000 jobs and generates $6 billion for the Australian economy annually,

(ii) approximately half of the shallow water coral of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost since 2016 due to successive coral bleaching incidents,

(iii) the Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities has reported a dramatic decline in domestic tourism since successive coral bleaching events,

(iv) in February 2020, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority survey teams found significant bleaching at three reefs in the Shelburne Bay and Wuthathi region of the Great Barrier Reef,

(v) current National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch forecasts show a heightened risk of a mass bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef in the coming weeks, and

(vi) climate change remains the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) implement a climate policy that accelerates actions to limit global warming to 1.5°C to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the jobs that it supports,

(ii) take all action necessary to properly protect the Great Barrier Reef and avoid the UNESCO World Heritage Committee needing to place the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage In Danger List, and

(iii) develop a clear plan to move Australia towards 100% clean energy, including a plan for a just transition for Australia's regional workforces so that regional economies can thrive and workers are protected.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

26th Feb 2020, 4:06 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Great Australian Bight as world heritage

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Norwegian oil company Equinor, has announced it is discontinuing its exploration drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight,

(ii) this is an opportunity to celebrate the pristine and precious Great Australian Bight and to protect it for future generations and the rest of the world to come and experience,

(iii) the Bight is ecologically and environmentally significant and home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world with 85% of marine life found in the Bight found nowhere else,

(iv) Australia Institute Research has shown that more than 4 in 5 South Australians (84%) and 7 in 10 Australians want to see the Bight given World Heritage protection, and

(v) in July 2018, the South Australian Parliament called on the state government to work with the federal government to seek listing under the World Heritage Convention of the waters, seabed and coastline of the Great Australian Bight as a matter of urgency; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to submit the Great Australian Bight for consideration as a World Heritage Site.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

10th Feb 2020, 7:43 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Cancel permit

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Asset Energy has announced that it will not proceed with plans for seismic testing in the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 zone, which was originally planned for thousands of square kilometres of ocean from Newcastle through the Central Coast to Manly in New South Wales,

(ii) while this is welcome news for ocean life, exploration through drilling could occur soon causing irreversible damage to the marine environment, and

(iii) there is a climate emergency and further coal, gas or oil reserves should not be developed if we have any chance of preventing more than 1 degrees of warming; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to cancel Petroleum Exploration Permit 11.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

6th Feb 2020, 12:32 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Great Australian Bight

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate notes—

(a) that Norwegian oil giant, Equinor, has received its second of four rounds of approvals from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, the government regulator responsible for oversight into exploratory petroleum drilling in the Great Australian Bight;

(b) the deep community opposition to 'big oil' drilling in one of our most pristine ocean environments and sites of natural heritage in the world; and

(c) that tens of thousands of Australians continue to fight for the Bight, in forums both formal and informal, as communities across the country unite to reject Equinor's disastrous plan.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

3rd Dec 2019, 4:04 PM – Senate Documents - Stromlo-1 Exploration Drilling Program - Order for the Production of Documents

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means it failed.

Motion text

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, by 9 am on 5 December 2019:

(a) all correspondence between the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and Equinor on its request for Equinor to modify and resubmit its environmental plan in relation to the Stromlo-1 Exploration Drilling Program;

(b) all correspondence between NOPSEMA and Equinor in relation to the notice issued by NOPSEMA on 8 November 2019 requesting further information about matters relating to consultation, source control, oil-spill risk and matters under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and

(c) all correspondence between NOPSEMA and Equinor, up to 2 December 2019, in relation to the Stromlo-1 Exploration Drilling Program since the issuing of the notice on 8 November 2019.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

2nd Dec 2019, 4:05 PM – Senate Motions - Great Australian Bight - Protect from oil exploration

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Norwegian oil giant, Equinor, plans to drill for oil in the pristine ocean environment of the Great Australian Bight,

(ii) the majority of Australians oppose the plan, recognising that there is no safe way to drill for oil in the remote, rough seas of the Bight and it is not worth the environmental or economic risks, and three out of four South Australians stated in an Advertiser survey, released on 22 November 2019, they would not support it even if it would drive down their fuel prices,

(iii) on 23 November 2019, a National Day of Action was held to Fight for the Bight, which saw more than 10,000 people attend more than 50 events across the country from Exmouth, Western Australia, to Townsville, Queensland, and on some of Australia's most iconic beaches, including Bondi, Manly, Bells Beach, Byron Bay, Margaret River and Currumbin, and

(iv) according to the most recent polling from The Australia Institute, Australians want to see the Great Australian Bight protected, and more than four in five South Australians (84%) support World Heritage protection for the Bight; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) back the calls of the majority of Australians and tell Equinor that they are not welcome here, and

(ii) protect the Great Australian Bight by listing it as a World Heritage site.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Nov 2019, 4:53 PM – Senate Motions - Great Australian Bight - Foreign company

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate notes that:

(a) Norwegian company Equinor has an application before the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight;

(b) NOPSEMA has rejected Equinor's environment plan stating that Equinor must provide it with further information about matters relating to consultation, source control, oil spill risk, and matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;

(c) modelling commissioned by The Australia Institute shows Equinor will pay the Norwegian Government more than it will pay in Australian Government taxes, and up to 27 times more than it will pay to the South Australian Government;

(d) if Equinor's application is ultimately approved by NOPSEMA, a foreign-owned company will therefore take the vast majority of financial gains while exploiting and putting at risk our precious marine and coastal environment, and tens of thousands of tourism and fishing industry jobs; and

(e) the ecological and environmental significance of the Great Australian Bight is, in fact, priceless.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

31st Jul 2019, 3:55 PM – Senate Committees - Environment and Communications References Committee - Reference

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 11 November 2019:

The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:

(a) recent scientific findings;

(b) the regulation of seismic testing in both Commonwealth and state waters;

(c) the approach taken to seismic testing internationally; and

(d) any other related matters.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

12th Feb 2019 – Senate Motions - Great Australian Bight - End oil and gas drilling

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) a six year survey of the Great Australian Bight (the Bight), conducted as part of a joint effort by the South Australian Research and Development Institute, CSIRO, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and BP, has discovered more than 400 previously unknown species,

(ii) the Bight is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet,

(iii) BP and Equinor's own modelling of an oil spill in the Bight shows the scale of disaster that is possible, and

(iv) Equinor plans to commence drilling in the Bight as early as next year; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to suspend all current oil and gas exploration and drilling licences, and move to ban future oil and gas drilling in the Bight.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

4th Dec 2018, 4:46 PM – Senate Motions - East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery - Add conditions to accreditation

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas), which means the motion passed. 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) the East Coast Inshore Fin-Fish Fishery (ECIFFF) is Queensland's largest fishery, running adjacent to the entire east coast,

(ii) the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's most recent Outlook Report (2014) identifies the management of the ECIFFF by the Queensland Government as a risk to the reef's ecosystem and heritage values, particularly through the taking of predators, and the bycatching of endangered wildlife, such as snubfin dolphins and dugongs,

(iii) the Queensland Government's Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027 outlines its commitment to the reform of fisheries management,

(iv) the Minister for the Environment is considering the ecological sustainability of the ECIFFF for export approval,

(v) scalloped hammerhead sharks were recently listed as Conservation Dependent, following advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), but are still being taken from the ECIFFF, and

(vi) the TSSC recommended that scalloped hammerhead sharks be landed with fins attached, as is the case in Commonwealth, South Australian, New South Wales, Victorian and Tasmanian managed fisheries; and

(b) calls on the Minister for the Environment to ensure that strong, time-bound conditions are attached to the accreditation of the ECIFFF for export approval, including:

(i) a requirement to ensure an independent observer and monitoring program is implemented,

(ii) analysis of high conservation values to snubfin dolphins and dugongs, and implementation of area closures to reduce bycatch following the principles of adaptive management (noting that work is ongoing in regard to real-time tracking of dolphins and dugongs in an effort to reduce bycatch), and

(iii) a requirement for scalloped hammerhead sharks to be landed with fins attached.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

3rd Dec 2018, 4:39 PM – Senate Motions - Shark Mitigation - Non-lethal methods

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas), which means it succeeded.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the two tragic human-shark interactions in Cid Harbour, the Whitsundays, in September 2018, and the trauma and hurt that has resulted,

(ii) that the Queensland Government culled at least six sharks in response to these interactions,

(iii) the fatality of Dr Daniel Christidis in Cid Harbour, in November 2018, from a shark bite after these culls; and extends condolences to his family and friends,

(iv) that there is no evidence that lethal shark mitigation methods, such as nets or drum lines, make the ocean safe,

(v) an ancient 4.65-metre Great White Shark was recently killed by shark nets at Maroubra Beach, Sydney,

(vi) that the Great White Shark is a threatened species and protected in Australia by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and is protected internationally through a number of mechanisms,

(vii) that, as apex predators, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health; and that a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that the depletion of sharks results in the loss of commercially important finfish and shellfish species down the food chain, including key fisheries such as tuna that maintain the health of coral reefs, and

(viii) the recommendation of the Environment and Communications References Committee inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures, that the Australian Government should establish a national working group to develop strategies and facilitate information-sharing about non-lethal measures with the objective of ending lethal shark control programs; and

(b) calls upon:

(i) the Australian Government to establish this working group, and

(ii) the State and Federal Governments to phase-out the use of lethal shark mitigation methods and invest in non-lethal methods as a way of protecting the environment without putting human lives at risk.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

14th Nov 2018, 7:24 PM – Senate Committees - Environment and Communications References Committee - Refer matter

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2019:

The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:

(a) the regulation of seismic testing, and the responsibilities of federal and state governments;

(b) the consultation process regarding the approval of seismic testing;

(c) how potential impacts are taken into account during the consultation process;

(d) applications for seismic testing in the Otway Basin; off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales; and the waters surrounding Kangaroo Island, South Australia;

(e) recent scientific findings; and

(f) any other related matters.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

12th Nov 2018, 4:32 PM – Senate Committees - Environment and Communications References Committee - Refer matter

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 29 March 2019:

The impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, with particular reference to:

(a) the regulation of seismic testing in both Commonwealth and state waters, and the responsibilities of federal and state governments;

(b) the consultation process regarding the approval of seismic testing;

(c) the extent to which potential impacts are taken into account during the consultation process;

(d) the protections provided by Australian Marine Parks against any potential impacts;

(e) the approach taken to seismic testing internationally;

(f) recent scientific findings; and

(g) any other related matters.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

16th Aug 2018, 4:14 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Marine Parks Network Management Plans - Disallow

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The majority voted against a motion to disallow four marine parks management plans, meaning that the plans remain in force.

Greens Senators Louise Pratt and Peter Whish-Wilson introduced these disallowance motions, arguing that the plans (along with one other):

revoke about 40 million hectares of high-level national marine parks, almost twice the area of Victoria. This is equivalent to revoking half of Australia's national parks on land.

Motion text

That the South-west Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2018, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed [F2018L00326].

That the North Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2018, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed [F2018L00324].

That the North-west Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2018, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed [F2018L00322].

That the Temperate East Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2018, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed [F2018L00321].

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

16th Aug 2018, 4:10 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Marine Parks Network Management Plan - Disallow

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The majority voted against a motion meaning that the plan remains in force.

Greens Senators Louise Pratt and Peter Whish-Wilson introduced this disallowance motion, arguing that the plan (along with four others):

revoke about 40 million hectares of high-level national marine parks, almost twice the area of Victoria. This is equivalent to revoking half of Australia's national parks on land.

Motion text

That the Coral Sea Marine Park Management Plan 2018, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed [F2018L00327].

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

25th Jun 2018, 4:11 PM – Senate Motions - Great Australian Bight - World Heritage Listing

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) around 85 per cent of marine life within the Great Australian Bight is found nowhere else on Earth, and

(ii) British Petroleum (BP) claimed in an application to the Commonwealth offshore petroleum regulator that an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight would be "socially acceptable", further claiming "in most instances, the increased activity associated with cleanup operations will be a welcome boost to local economies";

(b) recognises that:

(i) Mayo's coastal communities would be among the hardest hit if oil spilled in the Bight, and

(ii) 74 per cent of Mayo residents want World Heritage Listing for the Great Australian Bight; and

(c) calls on the government to respect the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Mayo residents, by beginning the process of listing the Great Australian Bight for World Heritage Status—not only to protect, but to celebrate what's great about the Bight.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Mar 2018, 7:38 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Marine Parks Network Management Plans - Disallow

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The majority voted against a motion to stop certain legal instruments from having force in law. In parliamentary jargon, they voted against disallowing these instruments.

Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who introduced the motion, explained these instruments as "environmental vandalism", though other senators disagreed. Read their opinions in the debate for an overview of the different positions.

Motion text

That the following instruments, made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, be disallowed:

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

27th Mar 2018, 4:08 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Seismic testing in the Great Australian Bight

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is currently considering an application from Petroleum Geoservices Australia to conduct 3D and 2D seismic surveys in environmentally sensitive waters off Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island,

(ii) seismic testing involves blasting 260 decibels of sound every 10 seconds, and

(iii) this volume is louder than a space shuttle launch from its launch pad, a nuclear bomb from its epicentre, and the sound produced at the epicentre of Krakatoa's volcanic eruption in 1883, which was audible 4 500 kms away from its source;

(b) further notes that:

(i) if approved, the seismic testing program would impact the direct migratory path of southern Bluefin tuna, southern right whales and sperm whales, and

(ii) a seismic test of this proposed scale can result in death;

(c) commends the actions of the Kangaroo Island Council, the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Sea Shepherd, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the Wilderness Society, Greenpeace and concerned local community members in drawing attention to the potential harm that this seismic testing program could create if approved by NOPSEMA; and

(d) call on the Federal Government to prohibit seismic testing the Great Australian Bight.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Jun 2017, 12:24 PM – Senate Motions - Aquaculture Industry - Okehampton Bay salmon farm

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the damage caused to the Macquarie Harbour World Heritage Area, including the threat to the endangered Maugean Skate, as a result of the overstocking of salmon farms in the harbour,

(ii) the proceedings brought by Huon Aquaculture in the Federal Court and the Tasmanian Supreme Court against the Tasmanian Government for failing to properly regulate salmon farming by Tassal in Macquarie Harbour,

(iii) that the Commonwealth is investigating whether conditions imposed as part of the 2012 expansion of salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour have been breached,

(iv) the decision of the Hodgman Government to grant permission to Tassal to establish an 800 000 fish salmon farm in Okehampton Bay on Tasmania's pristine east coast, and

(v) concerns from a wide cross-section of the community over the proposed Okehampton Bay salmon farm, including the concerns expressed by around 1 000 people who attended FloatMo in Hobart on 18 June 2017; and

(b) calls on the Hodgman Government to withdraw permission for a salmon farm in Okehampton Bay given the record of atrocious mismanagement and poor regulation of Tasmania's aquaculture industry.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

12th Oct 2016, 4:06 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Great Australian Bight

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) welcomes the decision by BP to withdraw its application to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight; and

(b) calls on the Turnbull Government to permanently ban all oil exploration and drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

2nd Mar 2016, 4:32 PM – Senate Motions - Protection of Shark Species - Full protection to five species

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The majority voted against a motion, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert had proposed the motion to give full protection to five shark species that don't have that at the moment.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that:

(i) sharks play an important role as apex predators in marine ecosystems, and

(ii) world shark populations are falling by between 63 to 273 million per year due to fisheries overexploitation;

(b) notes that the Australian Government has entered reservations against five shark species (big-eyed, pelagic and common thresher sharks, and scalloped and great hammerheads) under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, removing those shark species from the full protection otherwise provided by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act); and

(c) calls on the Australian Government to remove reservations for those five shark species, and to provide them full protection under the Act, by continuing to list Appendices I and II species on the Convention on Migratory Species as 'migratory species' under the Act.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

15th Oct 2015, 12:42 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Release Environmental Plan

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Robert Simms (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the intention of British Petroleum (BP) to perform high-risk exploratory drilling in the Great Australian Bight,

(ii) that the current environmental and safety evaluation being performed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for exploration lease approval requires BP to release sufficient information so stakeholders can make informed assessment of the project and its possible consequences,

(iii) that BP has not released critical information such as its:

(a) Environmental Plan,

(b) oil spill modelling, or

(c) oil spill emergency plan,

(iv) that given:

(a) the natural beauty of the Great Australian Bight,

(b) the ecological uniqueness of the Great Australian Bight and its critical importance for marine life, including blue, southern right, sperm, killer and humpback whales,

(c) that an oil spill of this nature could devastate the $442 million South Australian fishing industry, as well as the state’s $1 billion coastal tourism industries,

(d) that 90 per cent of oil spills take place during exploratory drilling,

(e) that the Great Australian Bight contains some of the roughest and most remote open waters on the planet, and

(f) that in the event of an oil spill, it may take up to 157 days to cap an oil well,

that this lack of environmental transparency does not meet the sufficient information criteria for NOPSEMA’s 28 day approval process; and

(b) calls on BP to release their Environmental Plan, and, failing that, NOPSEMA to reject BP’s exploration lease application.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

7th Sep 2015, 3:45 PM – Senate Refer 'supertrawlers' to the Environment and Communications References Committee

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The majority of Senators agreed to the following motion:

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 April 2016:

The environmental, social and economic impacts of large capacity fishing vessels commonly known as 'supertrawlers' operating in Australia's marine jurisdiction, with particular reference to:

(a) the effect of large fishing vessels on the marine ecosystem, including:

  • (i) impacts on fish stocks and the marine food chain, and

  • (ii) bycatch and interactions with protected marine species;

(b) current research and scientific knowledge;

(c) social and economic impacts, including effects on other commercial fishing activities and recreational fishing;

(d) the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework and compliance arrangements; and

(e) any other related matters.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

12th Feb 2015, 1:38 PM – Senate Bills – Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 – in Committee – Amendment: extend protections to all threatened species

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The Senate voted not to accept an amendment to the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, moved by Senator Larissa Waters.

According to the summary on the “bill’s homepage” on the Parliament’s website, this bill:

amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to provide additional protection for dugong and turtle populations from the threats of poaching, illegal trade and illegal transportation.

Senator Waters explained the aim of their amendment:

This government has sought to introduce increased protection just for turtles and dugongs ... if the argument is that the penalties for turtles and dugongs are inadequate then surely that argument would logically extend to all of the penalties for the take of threatened species being indeed inadequate. And so we will move this amendment, the purpose of which is to say, 'Well, clearly, protection for threatened species is inadequate and does need to be increased.' This amendment would increase the penalties for the unlawful take of threatened species across the board, so that we are not just cherry picking and saying that turtles and dugongs deserve additional protection but no other threatened species do.

Senator Senator Simon Birmingham explained the Government’s opposition to this amendment:

Very briefly, the government will not be supporting these amendments. This policy about tripling penalties in relation to turtles and dugongs is one we took to the election ... We have made sure that we have worked hard to get broad support for this. To do so to other species would necessitate further public consultation, and that is why we do not believe that the amendments proposed by Senator Waters at this time are appropriate.

More detail is available through the debate and bill links.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

How "voted very 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 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 18 0 180
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 3 3 6
Total: 3 386

*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 = 3 / 386 = 0.78%.

And then