voted compared to someone who believes that
the federal government should increase transparency by creating a Foreign Ownership Register for Agricultural Land that is available for all citizens to access
The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which would have put further limits on foreign investment.
Wording of the motion
That the Senate
(i) the Free Trade memorandum of understanding [63.5KB] signed between Australia and China, and
(ii) that climate change, with its consequent global food insecurity, is driving governments to acquire land and water outside their own borders as sources of food supply; and
(b) calls on the Government to:
(i) create a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land and water assets to continuously track overseas purchases,
(ii) lower the threshold from $248 million to $5 million for consideration of the national interest by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for purchases of agricultural land and water by a foreign private entity,
(iii) legislate a stronger national interest test to be applied by the FIRB for purchases of agricultural land and water resources, and
(iv) prohibit the purchase of agricultural land and water by wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign governments.
Not passed by a modest majority
The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Liberal Senator Helen Kroger, which means that it was successful.
The motion was about the sale of Cubbie Station to a foreign-owned company and an Australia-owned company. The sale was controversial because it gave the foreign-owned company 80% initial ownership and, as explained by Senator Kroger, the Station is "one of Australia's most valuable irrigation properties, with a water licence equal to 6 per cent of the water use in the northern Murray-Darling Basin"
Wording of the motion
That the Senate:
(a) notes that:
(i) there is bipartisan support for foreign investment, provided that the particular foreign investment is not contrary to the national interest,
(ii) the Treasurer ( Mr Swan) has approved the potential sale of Cubbie Station to a consortium 80 per cent owned by Shandong RuYi Scientific and Technological Group Co Ltd,
(iii) the Treasurer has failed to explain why the potential sale to a majority foreign-owned consortium of one of Australia's most valuable irrigation properties, with a water licence equal to 6 per cent of the water use in the northern Murray-Darling Basin, is not contrary to the national interest, and
(iv) Annex II of the Treasurer's own policy on foreign investment requires him to consider the effect of the proposal on:
(A) the quality and availability of Australia's agricultural resources, including water,
(B) land access and use,
(C) agricultural production and productivity,
(D) Australia's capacity to remain a reliable supplier of agricultural production both to the Australian community and our trading partners,
(E) biodiversity, and
(F) employment and prosperity in Australia's local and regional communities;
(b) calls on the Treasurer to provide a statement detailing:
(i) how the Treasurer determined the ownership and control of the consortium, particularly in the context of the national interest,
(ii) why the Treasurer did not publish an interim order to extend the period of consideration by 90 days as required by Australia's Foreign Investment Policy, and
(iii) why the sale is not contrary to the national interest and release the advice to the Treasurer from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and associated documents, including what, if any, other options were considered; and
(c) calls on the Government to ensure that foreign investment transactions are transparent by:
(i) establishing a publicly available national register of all foreign acquisitions of Australian agricultural land,
(ii) reducing the financial threshold for FIRB examination of foreign acquisitions of Australian agricultural land, and
(iii) ensuring that at least one member of FIRB has experience in agricultural management.
Passed by a small majority
How "never voted" is worked out
Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple
phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case
was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other
than that they have "never voted" on this policy.