How Ron Boswell voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase fishing restrictions so that fish populations are sustainable

Division Ron Boswell Supporters vote Division outcome

19th Sep 2012, 11:00 AM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Bill 2012 - Third Reading - Read a third time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the bill is now passed in the Senate and, since it has already passed in the House of Representatives, it will now become law.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced "to establish an independent expert panel to conduct an assessment into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a declared commercial fishing activity and to prohibit the declared commercial fishing activity while the assessment is undertaken".(Read more about the bill, including the text of the bill and its explanatory memoranda, here. )

It was introduced following the controversial arrival of the super trawler FV Margiris into Australian waters. Opponents to the trawler argue that its presence "will cause localised overfishing and could drive away bluefin tuna".(Read more about the arguments against the super trawler here. ) Supporters disagree, saying the trawler's quota is sustainable.(As above. ) Environment Minister Tony Burke position was there "there was significant uncertainty regarding the impact of such a large fishing vessel on the marine environment",(Read more in the bills digest.) hence the need for an assessment into the potential impacts.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

18th Sep 2012, 2:06 PM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Bill 2012 — Second Reading — Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a second time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority agreed with the main idea of the bill.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced "to establish an independent expert panel to conduct an assessment into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a declared commercial fishing activity and to prohibit the declared commercial fishing activity while the assessment is undertaken".(Read more about the bill, including the text of the bill and its explanatory memoranda, here. )

It was introduced following the controversial arrival of the super trawler FV Margiris into Australian waters. Opponents to the trawler argue that its presence "will cause localised overfishing and could drive away bluefin tuna".(Read more about the arguments against the super trawler here. ) Supporters disagree, saying the trawler's quota is sustainable.(As above. ) Environment Minister Tony Burke position was there "there was significant uncertainty regarding the impact of such a large fishing vessel on the marine environment",(Read more in the bills digest.) hence the need for an assessment into the potential impacts.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

11th Sep 2012, 4:05 PM – Senate Motions — Super Trawlers — Ban all super trawlers

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

That the Senate calls on the Government to ban all super trawlers from Australian waters.(Super trawlers include fishing boats such as the FV Margiris, later called the Abel Tasman. )

This motion was made in response to the arrival the super trawler named FV Margiris into Australian waters. Opponents to the trawler argue that its presence "will cause localised overfishing and could drive away bluefin tuna".(Read more about the arguments against the super trawler here. ) Supporters disagree, saying the trawler's quota is sustainable.(As above.) Due to these disparate views on the effect of super trawlers on fish populations, senators in favour of the policy "For developing and enforcing fishing restrictions" could have voted either way (i.e. either 'aye' or 'no'), depending on their views on this issue.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

16th Aug 2012, 12:05 PM – Senate Motions — Australian Small Pelagic Fishery - Reverse decision to lift quota

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, which means that it was unsuccessful. The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes, in regard to the introduction of the factory ship FV Margiris to the Australian Small Pelagic Fishery, the range of significant and justifiable concerns, including but not limited to:

(i) the localised depletion of fish stocks,

(ii) mammalian by-catch, including seals and dolphins,

(iii) impacts on other industries, including tourism,

(iv) the assertion that this super trawler is only economically viable because it previously received European Union subsidies and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has lifted the fishery quotas,

(v) public access, transparency and scrutiny of any operational compliance data, and

(vi) the non-compliance of AFMA quota-setting processes with the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 (the Act); and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) reverse the decision to lift the quota for the Small Pelagic Fishery and examine the compliance of the AFMA-led process that led to this decision with the Act,

(ii) demonstrate that it has fully examined and mitigated the impacts of localised depletion that the FV Margiris will have and ensure that a bioregional approach has been taken in setting the harvest strategy under which this ship would operate, and

(iii) demonstrate that 100 per cent observer coverage will be achieved on-board to ensure compliance and minimal by-catch, given that the ship will operate 24 hours a day, and ensure all compliance data will be publically available.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

19th Mar 2012, 4:32 PM – Senate Motions — Western Australia Export Fishing Licences - Refuse export licence until observer program established

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The majority voted against a motion moved by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) there are less than 12,500 Australian sea lions left in Australian waters and that the 2,000 left in Western Australian waters are extremely vulnerable,

(ii) one of the greatest threats to the survival of Australian sea lions is gillnets,

(iii) the Western Australian Department of Fisheries has failed to meet the government's conditions to put an observer program in place on boats within its gillnet fisheries to establish how many sea lions and dolphins are killed each year,

(iv) without observers, the number of Australian sea lions and dolphins dying in gillnets is likely to be grossly under reported, given that the example from the South Australian shark gillnet fishery demonstrated that few deaths were reported until observer-based studies identified up to 374 sea lions and 56 dolphins were dying every 18 months,

(v) the South Australian shark gillnet fishery now has compulsory video or observer coverage on every vessel, as well as new rules to protect Australian sea lions, and

(vi) the Western Australian Department of Fisheries is currently re-applying to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for export approval for Western Australia's Temperate Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fisheries;

(b) is concerned that, before any re-approval of export licensing, the Western Australian Department of Fisheries should identify its impact on sea lions and safeguard vulnerable and protected marine life from the fishery's impacts; and

(c) calls on the government to refuse the grant of the export licence for this fishery until an observer program is put in place and designated buffer zones are created around sea lion breeding colonies.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

19th Jun 2006, 3:43 PM – Senate Motions - Sea Bottom Trawl Fishing - Address destructive impact

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that unregulated high seas bottom trawling is inconsistent with international law as recognised in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea;

(b) notes the Australian Government’s initiatives in developing long-term governance arrangements to address destructive fishing practices such as illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and high sea bottom trawling;

(c) calls on the Government to report on its actions to inform a review of progress and future recommendations to address the destructive impacts on deep sea ecosystems, as requested by the UN, and which was to have been provided by 1 May 2006;

(d) notes that:

(i) these governance measures will take time to develop and implement and the need, therefore, for interim short-term measures, such as a global moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, and

(ii) the UN General Assembly will consider a proposal for a global moratorium on high seas bottom trawling in October or November 2006; and

(e) calls on the Government to support interim measures to address the destructive impacts of bottom trawling on deep sea ecosystems while long-term governance measures are put in place.

No Yes 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 4 0 40
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 2 2 4
Total: 2 44

*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 = 2 / 44 = 4.5%.

And then