How Mary Fisher 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 Mary Fisher Supporters vote Division outcome

22nd Mar 2012, 1:56 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Oppose offshore dumping

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, what was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that:

(i)   a recent Galaxy poll found 88 per cent of Queenslanders oppose offshore dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and

(ii)   the Government has approved offshore dumping of over 22 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in the past 5 years; and

(b)   calls on the Government to stop approving offshore dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Mar 2012, 1:53 PM – Senate Motions - Mining - Moratorium on coal seam gas

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that in the past 6 months since the Greens motion for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining was first defeated in the Senate, the urgent concerns of farmers, landholders and regional communities regarding the risks posed by the runaway coal seam gas industry have not been addressed;

(b)   notes that the recent Senate inquiry into the impacts of coal seam gas mining in the Murray Darling Basin heard compelling evidence that regional communities are suffering many negative impacts from the operations of coal seam gas mining companies; and

(c)   calls on the Government to implement an immediate moratorium on any new coal seam gas approvals until the long-term impacts of the industry on groundwater, agriculture, rural communities, threatened species, the climate and the Great Barrier Reef are known.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Mar 2012, 1:50 PM – Senate Motions - Marine Conservation - Moratorium on issuing oil and gas leases

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Penny Wright, which was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that:

(i)   up to 90 per cent of marine life within the Great Australian Bight is found nowhere else on Earth,

(ii)   the Great Australian Bight is an important feeding and migration area to approximately 30 species of whales and dolphins, including sperm whales, beaked whales, southern right whales and the critically endangered blue whale, and

(iii)   less than 1 per cent of this area is protected from oil and gas operations;

(b)   recognises that:

(i)   over the past 3 years, the Government has progressively opened up more areas in the Great Australian Bight to oil and gas exploration,

(ii)    BP holds four oil and gas exploration leases in the Great Australian Bight, the boundaries of which overlap with the Great Australian Bight Marine Park,

(iii)   BP is currently conducting seismic testing in marine park areas to explore for oil and gas, and such testing is moving into known whale feeding regions,

(iv)   grave concerns have been expressed by a number of environmental groups about the risks associated with seismic testing occurring too close to whales, including organ and lung damage, hearing damage and haemorrhaging, which can result in death, and

(v)   the Great Australia Bight is an iconic and globally significant area for marine life and its unique ecology and environment must be protected and preserved for the benefit of future generations; and

(c)   calls on the Government to:

(i)   prioritise the protection and preservation of marine life in the Great Australian Bight by creating a network of large marine sanctuaries,(Read more about Commonwealth marine reserves here.)

(ii)   impose a moratorium on the issuing of oil and gas leases in the Great Australian Bight until after final decisions have been made regarding the establishment of marine sanctuaries in the Great Australian Bight through the Commonwealth marine bioregional planning process, and

(iii)   prohibit night-time seismic testing and require the mandatory use of passive acoustic technology when conducting such testing in the Great Australian Bight.

References

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

10th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Suspend applications and approvals until after UNESCO assessment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes:

(i)   that the Government and the Opposition did not support the Australian Greens' motion on 9 November 2011 that 'all applications and approvals made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [the Act] which would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be suspended until the conclusion of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] requested strategic assessment, to allow consideration of all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon',

(ii)   the comments by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ( Mr Burke) on Four Corners on Monday, 7 November 2011, that he would 'prefer a situation where as much as possible is able to be dealt with once we've concluded the strategic assessment, but people have legal rights under law to commence the process and those processes continue in the interim', and

(iii)   the Act already provides a suspension process for applications and approvals in particular circumstances and a revocation process for approvals in particular circumstances, both without compensation rights flowing to the proponent; and

(b)   calls on the Government to:

(i)   confirm that sections 130(5), 132, 144 and 145 of the Act allow the Minister to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, and(Read more about the status of the Great Barrier Reef on UNESCO.)

(ii)   if necessary, urgently amend the Act to confer on the Minister the power to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, to allow that strategic assessment to properly consider all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon.

References

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Coral Sea - Declare marine national park

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Bob Brown.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

(a)   notes the unique biodiversity and natural heritage of the Coral Sea that is home to the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle and endangered green turtle;

(b)   recognises that 2012 will be the 70th anniversary of the historically important Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 that changed the face of World War II; and

(c)   calls on the Government to declare the Coral Sea the world's largest marine national park.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Suspend applications and approvals until after UNESCO assessment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

That the Senate calls for all applications and approvals made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 which would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be suspended until the conclusion of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization requested strategic assessment, to allow consideration of all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon.(Read more about the status of the Great Barrier Reef on UNESCO.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Aug 2008, 5:01 PM – Senate Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 - Referral to Committee

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The motion failed to get a majority and so was rejected. This is because an equal number of senators voted 'aye' and 'no'. It was introduced by Family First Senator Steve Fielding.

The motion was: "That the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 be referred to the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee for inquiry and report by 10 November 2008."

Senator Fielding explained that the reason for his motion was the "concern about the changes in the definitions and direction of the management of the park and about the definition of the precautionary principle, which basically could end up stopping any recreational fishing in the marine park".(Read his full explanation here.)

References

Yes No Not passed

27th Aug 2008, 4:08 PM – Senate Motions - Gunns Pulp Mill - Provide the report on potential marine impact

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The majority voted against a motion put by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

"That there be laid on the table, no later than 4 pm on 28 August 2008, the report prepared for the Federal Government by Dr Michael Herzfeld, a Coastal Environmental Modeller with the Marine and Atmospheric Research section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in conjunction with the Gunns Pulp Mill Independent Expert Group on the potential marine impact of effluent from the Gunns pulp mill."

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

21st Jun 2007, 8:40 PM – Senate Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2007 - In Committee - extend boundaries of Park to EEZ

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Jan McLucas, which means that it was rejected.

Ms McLucas explained that the purpose of her amendment was "to extend the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park region to the boundaries of the exclusive economic zone" (EEZ).(Read Ms McLucas's full explanation and the associated debate here, beginning from 8:14 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced in response to recommendations made in the Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders (the Uhrig Review).(Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest. ) The bill amends the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to:

  • implement changes to the governance arrangements of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority;
  • provide for a periodic outlook report and the development of zoning plans for the Marine Park; and
  • replace the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee with a non-statutory advisory board.(A summary of the bill and its explanatory memorandum can be found here.)
No Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 25 50
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* 3 3 6
Total: 28 146

*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 = 28 / 146 = 19%.

And then