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 agree with the main idea of the bill and that they can now discuss it in more detail.
This division was a conscience vote, meaning that senators were not required to vote along party lines.
Background to the bill
The bill was introduced to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 in order to transfer the responsibility for regulatory approval of RU486 from the Minister for Health and Ageing to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This will make it possible to evaluate, register, list or import abortifacients such as RU486 (i.e. medicines intended to induce an abortion) for use in Australia without the approval of the Minister.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (342 KB). More information, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)