How Anne Urquhart voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should ensure that Australian sovereignty always comes first when signing trade agreements so that the government can protect Australian interests (including its workforce and industries) without risking legal action from foreign investors under provisions such as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses

Division Anne Urquhart Supporters vote Division outcome

12th Nov 2018, 12:17 PM – Senate A Fair Go for Australians in Trade Bill 2018 [No. 2] - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time. Because this vote was successful, the Senate can now discuss the bill in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

The bill is concerned with trade agreements and was introduced to:

  • prohibit the Commonwealth from entering into a trade agreement that includes certain provisions;
  • require the Commonwealth to include in all bilateral trade agreements a labour chapter with internationally recognised labour principles;
  • prohibit the Commonwealth from entering into a trade agreement unless the agreement requires skills assessments to be undertaken in Australia;
  • require the minister to commission an independent national interest assessment of any proposed trade agreement; and
  • provide for the establishment of an accredited trade advisers program.
absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

17th Oct 2018, 12:32 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 and another - in Committee - Sunset clause

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The majority voted against an amendment that would add sunsetting clauses to the bills, which means it failed. Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick, who introduced the amendment, explained that:

the objective of this amendment is to include a sunset clause so that unless bilateral side letters are exchanged relating to ISDS provisions and labour market testing by 1 January 2020 this legislation is repealed. We believe that these amendments will allow the TPP-11 to enter into force but signal to other countries that Australia is planning to remove the ISDS clauses and reinstate labour market testing. If those arrangements haven't been made, the legislation will then be repealed.

What do these bills do?

The two bills are:

The bills were introduced to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). Their basic purpose is to implement the customs dimensions of the TPP-11 Agreement by making relevant amendments to the Customs Act 1901 and the Customs Tariff Act 1995. Read more in the bills digest.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 3, page 8 (after line 6), at the end of Subdivision A, add:

153ZKUA Cessation of effect of Division

This Division ceases to have effect on 1 January 2020 unless all of the following come into force for Australia before that day:

(a) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia by an investor of the other Party;

(b) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other Party.

(2) Schedule 1, item 4, page 19 (after line 18), at the end of Division 4EB, add:

126AKM Cessation of effect of Division

This Division ceases to have effect on 1 January 2020 unless all of the following come into force for Australia before that day:

(a) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia by an investor of the other Party;

(b) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other Party.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

17th Oct 2018, 11:30 AM – Senate Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 - in Committee - Commencement

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The majority voted against an amendment moved by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means it failed.

Senator Hanson-Young explained her amendment:

This amendment deals with these most important issues that are lacking in the TPP. As has been pointed out numerous times by me and my colleagues in second reading speeches and also through the committee stage today and yesterday, we are extremely concerned that ISDS provisions remain in the TPP. We also are worried, of course, about the failure to include proper protections for Australian workers through labour market testing.

So this amendment says that, until these issues are dealt with, the TPP would not be able to come into effect.

What do these bills do?

The bill was introduced along with another to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). Their basic purpose is to implement the customs dimensions of the TPP-11 Agreement by making relevant amendments to the Customs Act 1901 and the Customs Tariff Act 1995. Read more in the bills digest.

Amendment text

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (cell at table item 2, column 2), omit the cell, substitute:

If the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, done at Santiago, Chile on 8 March 2018, enters into force for Australia —the first day that:

(a) both of the following amendments of that Agreement are in force for Australia:

(i) an amendment with the effect that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to investments within Australia;

(ii) an amendment with the effect that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from all parties to the Agreement; and

(b) another Act is in force that includes provisions with the effect that Australia must not, after the commencement of that Act, enter into a trade agreement with one or more other countries that:

(i) waives labour market testing requirements for workers from those countries; or

(ii) includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision.

However, the provisions do not commence at all unless all of the events mentioned in this item occur.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

16th Oct 2018, 6:49 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 - in Committee - Commencement

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The majority voted against an amendment moved by Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick be agreed to.

Senator Patrick explained that:

The objective of this amendment is to prevent the enabling legislation commencing until bilateral side letters have been exchanged between Australia and each other party to the agreement, agreeing, firstly, that chapter 9 of the agreement, which deals with investor-state disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia, and, secondly, that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other party. Centre Alliance is of the view that these issues need to be addressed before the TPP comes into force, not after.

What do these bills do?

The bill was introduced along with another to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). Their basic purpose is to implement the customs dimensions of the TPP-11 Agreement by making relevant amendments to the Customs Act 1901 and the Customs Tariff Act 1995. Read more in the bills digest.

Amendment text

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (cell at table item 2, column 2), omit the cell, substitute:

If the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, done at Santiago, Chile on 8 March 2018, enters into force for Australia—the first day that:

(a) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other party to the Agreement agreeing that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia by an investor of the other party; and

(b) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other party to the Agreement agreeing that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other Party;

are in force for Australia.

However, the provisions do not commence at all unless all of the events mentioned in this item occur.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

19th Apr 2016, 7:29 PM – Senate Motions - Steel Industry - Support local industry

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Robert Simms (SA), which means it was rejected.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges that:

(i) the Australian steelworks manufacturing industry has been an important part of the Australian economy for almost 100 years, and

(ii) this is a difficult time for South Australian employees at Arrium OneSteel and the Whyalla community, with Arrium recently going into administration; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) provide urgent mental health support to the Whyalla community as part of any plan to assist in securing the future of the steel industry in South Australia,

(ii) invest in the development of greenhouse gas reducing steel-making technologies,

(iii) adopt a mandatory use of Australian Standards to assess the quality compliance of all steel-related building products used in Australia,

(iv) develop a legislated national procurement policy that ensures all government infrastructure and construction projects use at least 90 per cent locally-produced steel,

(v) as a condition of such a procurement policy, require that Australian steel producers adopt renewable sources of energy for the steel production process,

(vi) recognise That the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other free trade deals prevent federal and state governments from adopting such procurement policies should they be signed, and

(vii) reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership to protect South Australian jobs.

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 2 50 100
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 50 170

*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 = 50 / 170 = 29%.

And then