How Larissa Waters voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should maintain or increase its investment in and support for the Australian coal industry

Division Larissa Waters Supporters vote Division outcome

22nd Mar 2017, 5:05 PM – Senate Motions - Energy - Transition plan for coal workers

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to introduce a transition plan for coal workers, which was introduced by Greens Party Leader Senator Richard Di Natale. These motions have no legal force, but represent the will of the Senate.


That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Government has had no choice but to walk away from funding coal-fired power stations as they now look to invest in storage technologies to support the unstoppable potential of clean energy;

(b) acknowledges that thermal coal is in structural decline and has no long-term future in Australia; and

(c) urges the Government to implement a just transition plan for the benefit of coal workers, before it is too late.

absent No Passed by a small majority

1st Dec 2016, 4:30 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Industry - For technology neutral policies

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by National Party Senator John Williams, which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) supports the 53 000 workers directly employed by the coal industry;

(b) recognises that the forced closure of coal–fired power stations would increase the living expenses of Australian families through increased electricity prices;

(c) acknowledges that the forced closure of coal–fired power stations would jeopardise Australia's energy security and put thousands of jobs at risk in our manufacturing sector which relies on access to cheap and affordable power;

(d) acknowledges that coal is an affordable, abundant and increasingly clean domestic energy resource that is vital to providing reliable low-cost electricity, and that it will continue to be integral to Australia; and

(e) supports technology neutral policies that deliver emission reduction targets.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

17th Mar 2016, 12:39 PM – Senate Motions - Climate Change - Support a rapid transition to clean energy

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. It called for the government to stop supporting new coal mining developments and start supporting a rapid transition to clean energy.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, stated on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Q&A program that Australia is 'losing the battle' against global warming,

(ii) Professor Terry Hughes has told 'The Conversation' that Australia can either develop new coal mines or protect the Great Barrier Reef, but 'we can't possibly do both',

(iii) coral bleaching caused by global warming has already caused the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to raise its bleaching alert to Level 2, and the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has upgraded its Coral Reef Watch warning for the far northern Great Barrier Reef to Alert Level 2, the highest threat level, and

(iv) the mining and burning of coal is driving dangerous global warming which threatens the Great Barrier Reef; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to abandon its support for the Adani mega coal mine and Abbot Point coal port expansion, and support a rapid transition to 100 per cent clean energy as soon as possible, and at least 90 per cent clean energy by 2030.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

10th Nov 2015, 3:55 PM – Senate Business - Coalmining - Oppose Shenhua Watermark coal mine

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

The motion opposed the government approvals of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the Liverpool Plains.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Shenhua Australia Holdings is seeking to develop a 35 square kilometre coal mine on the Liverpool Plains in north west New South Wales,

(ii) the Liverpool Plains is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation, with productivity 40 per cent above the national average,

(iii) the proposed mine threatens the most significant underground water resources in the Murray -Darling Basin, and farmers are dependent on access to these water resources for their survival,

(iv) if the mine proceeds it would:

(A) comprise three open-cut pits, plus associated infrastructure, to mine up to 10 million tonnes of coal per year for 30 years and rail infrastructure to take the coal to the Port of Newcastle for export, and

(B) destroy significant areas of local Indigenous heritage, including grinding grooves that were used by Gomeroi warriors to sharpen spears,

(v) the proposal to relocate Indigenous artefacts does not acknowledge connections to land and country,

(vi) as the price of coal is in structural decline it is irresponsible to risk valuable farming land for a coal mine when renewable energy is commercially viable, and

(vii) more than 750 people attended the Harvest Festival to support the call for no mining on the Liverpool Plains; and

(b) calls on:

(i) the Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, to reverse the Federal Government's approval of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine; and

(ii) the New South Wales Government not to grant a mining licence for the Shenhua Watermark coal mine.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

9th Sep 2015, 4:28 PM – Senate Motions - Newcastle City Council Investment Policies - Environmental investment

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Newcastle City Council recently passed an update to its investment policies that notes the Council's preference for environmentally and socially responsible investment, and notes reports that this policy will see the Council shift its investments away from coal and fossil fuels,

(ii) the decision has been heavily criticised by the Minister for Industry and Science (Mr Macfarlane), despite warnings from scientists that Australia must act to stave off catastrophic climate change, and

(iii) an opinion poll conducted after the Council's decision found that only one in four Newcastle residents think investing in coal is financially safe; and

(b) congratulates the Newcastle City Council on updating its investment policy and joining councils across New South Wales, such as Lake Macquarie City Council, Willoughby Council, the City of Sydney, Marrickville Council, Leichhardt Council and Lismore City Council, in adopting policies regarding environmentally and socially responsible investment.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

25th Mar 2015, 5:25 PM – Senate Business - Great Barrier Reef - Galilee Basin

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Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the recent report of the Australian Coral Reef Society which stated that policies for a safe climate are inconsistent with the opening of new fossil fuel industries like the mega coal mines of the Galilee Basin, and

(ii) the comments of Professor Terry Hughes on ABC Radio that it is an impossible task to open up the mega coal mines of the Galilee Basin while sustaining the Great Barrier Reef for future generations; and

(b) agrees that Galilee Basin coal must stay in the ground in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

3rd Mar 2015 – Senate Motions — Liverpool Plains

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Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters moved that the Senate:

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the Liverpool Plains is one of the most important agricultural regions in Australia with rare and highly productive black soils, excellent water resources and a favourable local climate,

  • (ii) farming has occurred on the Liverpool Plains for generations and the agricultural productivity of the area is up to 40 per cent above the national average for all farming regions of Australia,

  • (iii) highly productive agricultural land, like that of the Liverpool Plains, is a finite resource,

  • (iv) the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission has recently approved the development of Chinese state-owned company Shenhua's Watermark open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, which will extract 268 million tonnes of coal over 30 years, 3 kilometres from the town of Breeza,

  • (v) farmers in the region are angry and extremely concerned that if this coal mine goes ahead their soils and the highly interconnected groundwater aquifers they rely on will be irreversibly damaged,

  • (vi) the Northern Daily Leader reported on 4 July 2014 That the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Joyce) said, 'I think the idea of a coalmine on the Breeza Plains is an absurdity' and 'I think it's most likely that it's going to have a deleterious effect on the aquifers', and

  • (vii) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on 9 September 2014 that the Minister for Agriculture said of the Liverpool Plains, 'I've always said from the start that I don't believe that it is the appropriate place for a coal mine'; and

(b) believes That the Liverpool Plains should be permanently off limits to coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

24th Nov 2014, 5:13 PM – Senate Motions - Mining - Galilee Basin

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Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Queensland Premier, Mr Campbell Newman, has announced that he will use public money from the sale, or long term lease, of public assets to build a coal railway for mining magnates,

(ii) Premier Newman has already announced that public money will be used to pay for dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and dumping on the nationally significant Caley Valley wetlands near Abbot Point, and

(iii) Queensland's existing industries, our safety, our environment, including the Great Barrier Reef, and our very way of life are at risk from climate change which is driven by burning fossil fuels; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to rule out allowing federal public funds to be used to pay for coal mines, railways or coal ports associated with the Galilee Basin.

Yes No 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).

No Yes Passed by a modest majority

15th Mar 2012, 12:12 PM – Senate Motions - Coal - From coal to clean energy market

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which means the motion was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) China's twelfth 5 year plan is expected to introduce caps on coal use from 2015,

(ii) the price of coking coal has already dropped some 40 per cent in the past year, due in large part to a drop in China's demand for imported coal,

(iii) China expects utility scale solar power to out-compete new coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade, while the Indian Government expects the cost crossover as soon as 2016,

(iv) India's economic giant, Tata Power, has publicly stated that its new investments will favour renewable energy, as coal power is becoming 'impossible' to develop,

(v) the Australian Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE) continues to predict that coal exports will double over the next two decades, and

(vi) Australia is leaving itself economically exposed by focusing on the development of coal export infrastructure; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) require BREE to review its modelling based on the current geopolitics of coal, and

(ii) rethink Australia's economic settings, which assume ongoing increases in the coal export market, and instead look to broaden Australia's economic base and build a more competitive clean energy economy.

Yes No Not passed by a modest 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 1 0 50
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 30 0 300
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 1 352

*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 = 1 / 352 = 0.28%.

And then