How Stephen Parry 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

Division Stephen Parry Supporters vote Division outcome

11th Sep 2012, 3:45 PM – Senate Motions - Cubbie Station - Foreign investment

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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.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "voted a mixture of for and 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 0 0 0
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 25 60

*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 = 25 / 60 = 42%.

And then