Summary

Edit

The majority voted in favour of reading the bill for a first time. In other words, the majority were in favour of formerly introducing the bill in to the Senate.

According to Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice:

the first reading is normally passed without opposition and is regarded as a purely formal stage

So, the fact that the Senate divided to vote on this motion (rather than voting 'on the voices', like normal) shows that this bill was rather controversial.

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

[This bill] constitutes the first response of the Government to the reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from its inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election, particularly in regards to the recommendations to change the Senate voting system. The recommended changes to the Senate electoral system by the Committee followed the election of senators on the basis of very small primary votes, and a perception that the group voting ticket system was being manipulated by some parties to direct preferences in a way that was not consistent with voter expectations.

The bill has three parts:

  • First, it gets rid of group voting tickets and requires citizens voting 'above the line' to allocate at least six preferences so that their vote will only be counted against the candidates they preferenced and won't go to other parties that they didn't vote for at all (note that that the bill has a savings provision "that allow voters who allocate at least one vote above the line to have their ballot paper count as formal and the preferences counted")

  • Second, it prohibits an individual from being the registered officer of more than one political party at once

  • Third, it lets parties to submit a party logo to the AEC to be added to their party registration to be printed on the ballot papers in black and white.

Read more in the bills digest.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Robert Simms SA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Australian Labor Party (92% turnout) 0 Yes 22 No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Joe Bullock WA No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Sam Dastyari NSW No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Sue Lines WA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Nova Peris NT No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Penny Wong SA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President No
Bob Day SA Family First Party No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent No
Glenn Lazarus Queensland Independent No
John Madigan Victoria Independent No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Yes
James McGrath Queensland Yes
Liberal Party (92% turnout) 22 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
George Brandis Queensland Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Bill Heffernan NSW Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Jo Lindgren Queensland Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Marise Payne NSW Yes
Linda Reynolds WA Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Dio Wang WA Palmer United Party No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Yes
Totals (93% turnout) 40 Yes – 30 No