The majority voted in favour of a motion that "calls on the Government to heed community expectations and definitively ban the export of live horses, ponies and donkeys for slaughter". the motion was introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (NSW).
Motions like these don't have any legal force in and of themselves. That is, they don't change the law or force the Government to do as they ask. But they do demonstrate to the Government the will of the Senate and so can be significant.
That the Senate—
(a) recognises that:
(i) on 24 March 2017, following trade talks between the Prime Minister and the Chinese Premier, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Honourable Barnaby Joyce, MP was widely reported as stating that if people want edible donkey skins, Australia is going to provide them,
(ii) the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ("the Department") confirmed in hearings of the Budget estimates held in May 2017 it is working on Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) arrangements for horses, ponies and donkeys for the purposes of slaughter in the event an application for live export is lodged,
(iii) the Department has provided animal welfare groups with an exposure draft of the Export Control (Animals) Amendment (Equine Animals) Order 2017 for comment, and
(iv) the Australian Livestock Exporters Council, the peak body of Australia's current livestock export industry, has stated that it and its members do not support the commencement of any trade in the live export of horses and donkeys from Australia for slaughter; and
(b) calls on the Government to heed community expectations and definitively ban the export of live horses, ponies and donkeys for slaughter