How Richard Di Natale voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China to create more favourable trading conditions between China and Australia

Division Richard Di Natale Supporters vote Division outcome

5th Dec 2019, 12:35 PM – Senate Motions - Trade - Commend entry into FTAs

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Susan McDonald (Nationals), which means it was successful. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Australian farmers are highly productive, with each farmer producing enough food to feed 600 people, 150 at home and 450 overseas—feeding approximately 50 million people across the world each year,

(ii) Australia's Free Trade Agreements (FTA) give our primary producers and exporters preferential access into the growing markets across Asia,

(iii) the Federal Government's work to deliver FTA means that Australian farmers are poised to take advantage of the projected growth in Asia,

(iv) there is a high demand for Australia's safe and nutritious agricultural products across our international markets,

(v) trade has lifted the real income of Australian households by over $8400 a year, and

(vi) in 2017-18, the Australian red meat and livestock industry created employment for around 404,800 people, of these, just over 172,400 people were directly employed in the industry—the industry was also responsible for the employment of a further 232,400 people in businesses servicing the red meat and livestock industry, and as this industry exports 60 % of product, six in every ten jobs relies on our ability to trade with the world;

(b) congratulates the Federal Government on the entry into force of major FTA across north Asia, including:

(i) the China FTA which has resulted in beef exports totalling $1.75 billion in 2018-19—a 75% increase from $1 billion in 2017-18; in November 2019 alone, Australia's chilled and frozen beef exports to China reached a new record high of 34,264 tonnes, 134% above November last year; dairy product exports totalling $1.7 billion in 2018-19—a 54% increase from $1.1 billion in 2017-18,

(ii) the Japan FTA which has resulted in beef exports totalling $2.3 billion in 2018—a 14% increase from $2 billion in 2017, cheese exports totalled $498 million in 2018—a 17% increase over 2017, and

(iii) the Korean FTA which has resulted in beef exports totalling $1.37 billion in 2018—a 25% increase from $1.1 billion in 2017;

(c) notes Indonesia's demand for Australia's quality clean, green produce will continue to be built on the back of demand from its increasingly affluent 260 million strong population—under IA-CEPA, over 99% of Australian goods exports to Indonesia will enter duty free or under significantly improved and preferential arrangements; and

(d) supports the growth of Australian agriculture through the negotiation of preferential market access in export markets of the world.

No Yes Passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2015, 6:14 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2015 and related bill - Third Reading - Pass the bills

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The majority voted to pass the bills in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a third time.

Because the bills have already passed in the House of representatives, they will now become law.

What do the bills do?

Together, these bills implement the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement into Australian law. This Agreement does not remove all tariffs, subsidies, quotas etc between Australia and China (so it's not really free trade), but it does create more favourable trading conditions between the two countries.

Read more about the Agreement and the bills in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2015, 1:48 PM – Senate Customs Amendment (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2015 and related bill - Second Reading - Agree with bills' main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the bills' main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bills for a second time.

The Senate can now discuss the bills in more detail.

What is the bills' main idea?

Together, the purpose of these bills is to implement the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement into Australian law. This Agreement does not remove all tariffs, subsidies, quotas etc between Australia and China (so it's not really free trade), but it does create more favourable trading conditions between the two countries.

Read more about the Agreement and the bills in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a modest majority

20th Aug 2015, 12:25 PM – Senate Motions - China-Australia Free Trade Agreement - Renegotiate or abandon

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Independent Senator John Madigan (Vic), which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the importance of trade with China to the Australian economy,

(ii) that on 17 June 2015, Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment (Mr Robb) and China's Minister of Commerce (Mr Gao Hucheng) signed the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA),

(iii) that Article 10.4 of ChAFTA, in combination with other provisions, removes the requirement for Chinese companies operating in Australia to carry out 'labour market testing', 'economic needs testing' or 'other procedures of similar effect' before nominating foreign workers on temporary 457 work visas,

(iv) that a letter from the Minister for Trade and Investment to Mr Hucheng, dated 17 June 2015, which is stated to form part of ChAFTA, removes requirements for mandatory skills assessments for Chinese nationals entering Australia on certain types of temporary 457 work visas for ten occupations, including automotive electricians, general electricians and motor mechanics,

(v) that Chapter 9 of ChAFTA includes Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions of the type that have been utilised by foreign companies to bring claims against governments for legislative changes made for legitimate public purposes, such as the current claim by Phillip Morris against the Australian Government seeking compensation in relation to tobacco plain packaging legislation, and

(vi) that these aspects of ChAFTA are contrary to the national interest as they will cost Australian jobs, undermine the regulatory framework that ensures the safety of Australian worksites, and constrain the legislative process; and

(b) calls on the Government to renegotiate ChAFTA so as to remove these aspects of the agreement, or, alternatively, to abandon the agreement by not ratifying it.

Yes No Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted very strongly 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 2 0 100
MP absent 0 0 0
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: 0 120

*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 = 0 / 120 = 0.0%.

And then