How Stephen Conroy voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation and regulations that protect and conserve Australia's marine ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef

Division Stephen Conroy Supporters vote Division outcome

2nd Mar 2016, 4:32 PM – Senate Motions - Protection of Shark Species - Full protection to five species

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The majority voted against a motion, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert had proposed the motion to give full protection to five shark species that don't have that at the moment.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that:

(i) sharks play an important role as apex predators in marine ecosystems, and

(ii) world shark populations are falling by between 63 to 273 million per year due to fisheries overexploitation;

(b) notes that the Australian Government has entered reservations against five shark species (big-eyed, pelagic and common thresher sharks, and scalloped and great hammerheads) under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, removing those shark species from the full protection otherwise provided by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act); and

(c) calls on the Australian Government to remove reservations for those five shark species, and to provide them full protection under the Act, by continuing to list Appendices I and II species on the Convention on Migratory Species as 'migratory species' under the Act.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

15th Oct 2015, 12:42 PM – Senate Motions - Oil Exploration - Release Environmental Plan

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Robert Simms (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the intention of British Petroleum (BP) to perform high-risk exploratory drilling in the Great Australian Bight,

(ii) that the current environmental and safety evaluation being performed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for exploration lease approval requires BP to release sufficient information so stakeholders can make informed assessment of the project and its possible consequences,

(iii) that BP has not released critical information such as its:

(a) Environmental Plan,

(b) oil spill modelling, or

(c) oil spill emergency plan,

(iv) that given:

(a) the natural beauty of the Great Australian Bight,

(b) the ecological uniqueness of the Great Australian Bight and its critical importance for marine life, including blue, southern right, sperm, killer and humpback whales,

(c) that an oil spill of this nature could devastate the $442 million South Australian fishing industry, as well as the state’s $1 billion coastal tourism industries,

(d) that 90 per cent of oil spills take place during exploratory drilling,

(e) that the Great Australian Bight contains some of the roughest and most remote open waters on the planet, and

(f) that in the event of an oil spill, it may take up to 157 days to cap an oil well,

that this lack of environmental transparency does not meet the sufficient information criteria for NOPSEMA’s 28 day approval process; and

(b) calls on BP to release their Environmental Plan, and, failing that, NOPSEMA to reject BP’s exploration lease application.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

7th Sep 2015, 3:45 PM – Senate Refer 'supertrawlers' to the Environment and Communications References Committee

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The majority of Senators agreed to the following motion:

That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 April 2016:

The environmental, social and economic impacts of large capacity fishing vessels commonly known as 'supertrawlers' operating in Australia's marine jurisdiction, with particular reference to:

(a) the effect of large fishing vessels on the marine ecosystem, including:

  • (i) impacts on fish stocks and the marine food chain, and

  • (ii) bycatch and interactions with protected marine species;

(b) current research and scientific knowledge;

(c) social and economic impacts, including effects on other commercial fishing activities and recreational fishing;

(d) the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework and compliance arrangements; and

(e) any other related matters.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

12th Feb 2015, 1:38 PM – Senate Bills – Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 – in Committee – Amendment: extend protections to all threatened species

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The Senate voted not to accept an amendment to the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, moved by Senator Larissa Waters.

According to the summary on the “bill’s homepage” on the Parliament’s website, this bill:

amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to provide additional protection for dugong and turtle populations from the threats of poaching, illegal trade and illegal transportation.

Senator Waters explained the aim of their amendment:

This government has sought to introduce increased protection just for turtles and dugongs ... if the argument is that the penalties for turtles and dugongs are inadequate then surely that argument would logically extend to all of the penalties for the take of threatened species being indeed inadequate. And so we will move this amendment, the purpose of which is to say, 'Well, clearly, protection for threatened species is inadequate and does need to be increased.' This amendment would increase the penalties for the unlawful take of threatened species across the board, so that we are not just cherry picking and saying that turtles and dugongs deserve additional protection but no other threatened species do.

Senator Senator Simon Birmingham explained the Government’s opposition to this amendment:

Very briefly, the government will not be supporting these amendments. This policy about tripling penalties in relation to turtles and dugongs is one we took to the election ... We have made sure that we have worked hard to get broad support for this. To do so to other species would necessitate further public consultation, and that is why we do not believe that the amendments proposed by Senator Waters at this time are appropriate.

More detail is available through the debate and bill links.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

16th Jun 2014, 5:54 PM – Senate Documents - World Heritage Committee - Protect the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay, north Curtis Island and northern section of the reef

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which means that it was unsuccessful. The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes:

(i) the World Heritage Committee's request that Australia ensure the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay, north Curtis Island and the northern section of the reef are all protected from port development and industrialisation,

(ii) the withdrawal of Xstrata Glencore and the recent lapsing of the Mitchell Group's plans for proposed export facilities within the Fitzroy Delta means there are currently no major projects on foot in this pristine region,

(iii) that under current Queensland and federal laws these precious areas are still at risk from future port and industrial developments, and

(iv) That the World Heritage Committee will be considering the Australian and Queensland governments' management of the reef at its annual meeting in Qatar from 15 June to 25 June 2014;

(b) welcomes the World Heritage Committee's latest draft decision that notes Australia has advised the World Heritage Committee secretariat that it intends to protect the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay, and north Curtis Island from port developments; and

(c) calls on the Australian Government to permanently protect the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay, north Curtis Island and the northern section of the reef from ports and industrial developments, including trans-shipping, under Australia's national laws.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

9th Dec 2013, 4:26 PM – Senate Motions - Kangaroo Island - Reject seismic testing proposal

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The majority voted against a motion moved by Greens Senator Penny Wright which is:

That the Senate-

(a) notes the public comment period has started for Bight Petroleum’s referral (reference number 2013/6770) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act), which sets out its intention to do seismic testing in Commonwealth waters, to the west of Kangaroo Island in South Australia;(Read more about the Greens Party's opposition to Bright Petroleum's proposal in the media here.)

(b) recognises the economic, ecological and social importance of the Kangaroo Island marine environment, first and foremost for the Kangaroo Island community, but also for South Australia as a whole; and

(c) calls on the Minister for the Environment to use his powers under the Act to decide against the proposed action.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Nov 2013, 4:08 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Reject the Abbot Point coal port expansion proposal

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which is:

That the Senate-

(a) notes:

(i) the concern shared by Great Barrier Reef dive operators, charter boat companies, tourism operators, scientists and the community at large, and the World Heritage Committee, about the destructive dredging and offshore dumping for the proposed Abbot Point coal port expansion, planned to be the largest coal port in the world, and

(ii) the withdrawal of BHP Billiton from the proposed T2 terminal at Abbot Point, citing lack of need for additional port capacity; and(Read more about their withdrawal on ABC News here.)

(b) calls on the Government to listen to the community and our scientific experts and reject the Abbot Point dredging and dumping application and save the reef's waters, our coral reefs, fishing grounds and seagrass meadows from another 3 million tonnes of smothering dredge spoil.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

26th Jun 2013, 4:14 PM – Senate Motions - Marine Parks - Support Goverment's network of marine parks

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Labor Senator Louise Pratt, that was:

That the Senate-

(a) supports the world's largest network of marine parks put in place by this Government; and(Read more about this network on ABC News here.)

(b) supports the management plans for the marine parks.

References

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

20th Jun 2013, 12:15 PM – Senate Motions - Environment - Amend environment laws

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

The motion read:

I move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that Australia's national environment laws only regulate this country's most environmentally destructive projects which threaten our most precious species and wild places; and

(b) calls on the Government to amend our national environment laws before this Parliament rises to ensure these responsibilities cannot be handed to state or territory governments.

This means that the majority were against amending federal environment laws to ensure that responsibilities for Australia's 'most precious species and wild places' remain with the federal government.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

17th Jun 2013, 3:57 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area - Maintain heritage status

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The majority voted against a motion moved by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes:

(i) the World Heritage Committee's draft decision on the Great Barrier Reef states that to avoid the reef being added to the World Heritage in Danger list, Australia must turn around the 'limited progress' to date, and take 'urgent and decisive' action on its earlier recommendations to prevent new ports in pristine areas, and reject damaging port expansions,

(ii) the World Heritage Committee specifically identifies That the Fitzroy Delta, including Port Alma and Balaclava Island, should not be developed,

(iii) that Queensland's draft Ports Strategy considers Port Alma and Balaclava Island part of the Gladstone Port available for development, and

(iv) that Glencore Xstrata has just withdrawn its plans to develop a major coal port on pristine Balaclava Island; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) implement the World Heritage Committee's recommendations regarding ports immediately so that Australia does not become the only developed country with a site on the World Heritage in Danger list, and

(ii) immediately rule out any industrial development in the Fitzroy Delta and reflect this in our national environment laws.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Mar 2012, 1:56 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Oppose offshore dumping

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, what was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that:

(i)   a recent Galaxy poll found 88 per cent of Queenslanders oppose offshore dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and

(ii)   the Government has approved offshore dumping of over 22 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in the past 5 years; and

(b)   calls on the Government to stop approving offshore dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Mar 2012, 1:53 PM – Senate Motions - Mining - Moratorium on coal seam gas

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that in the past 6 months since the Greens motion for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining was first defeated in the Senate, the urgent concerns of farmers, landholders and regional communities regarding the risks posed by the runaway coal seam gas industry have not been addressed;

(b)   notes that the recent Senate inquiry into the impacts of coal seam gas mining in the Murray Darling Basin heard compelling evidence that regional communities are suffering many negative impacts from the operations of coal seam gas mining companies; and

(c)   calls on the Government to implement an immediate moratorium on any new coal seam gas approvals until the long-term impacts of the industry on groundwater, agriculture, rural communities, threatened species, the climate and the Great Barrier Reef are known.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Mar 2012, 1:50 PM – Senate Motions - Marine Conservation - Moratorium on issuing oil and gas leases

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Penny Wright, which was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that:

(i)   up to 90 per cent of marine life within the Great Australian Bight is found nowhere else on Earth,

(ii)   the Great Australian Bight is an important feeding and migration area to approximately 30 species of whales and dolphins, including sperm whales, beaked whales, southern right whales and the critically endangered blue whale, and

(iii)   less than 1 per cent of this area is protected from oil and gas operations;

(b)   recognises that:

(i)   over the past 3 years, the Government has progressively opened up more areas in the Great Australian Bight to oil and gas exploration,

(ii)    BP holds four oil and gas exploration leases in the Great Australian Bight, the boundaries of which overlap with the Great Australian Bight Marine Park,

(iii)   BP is currently conducting seismic testing in marine park areas to explore for oil and gas, and such testing is moving into known whale feeding regions,

(iv)   grave concerns have been expressed by a number of environmental groups about the risks associated with seismic testing occurring too close to whales, including organ and lung damage, hearing damage and haemorrhaging, which can result in death, and

(v)   the Great Australia Bight is an iconic and globally significant area for marine life and its unique ecology and environment must be protected and preserved for the benefit of future generations; and

(c)   calls on the Government to:

(i)   prioritise the protection and preservation of marine life in the Great Australian Bight by creating a network of large marine sanctuaries,(Read more about Commonwealth marine reserves here.)

(ii)   impose a moratorium on the issuing of oil and gas leases in the Great Australian Bight until after final decisions have been made regarding the establishment of marine sanctuaries in the Great Australian Bight through the Commonwealth marine bioregional planning process, and

(iii)   prohibit night-time seismic testing and require the mandatory use of passive acoustic technology when conducting such testing in the Great Australian Bight.

References

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

10th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Suspend applications and approvals until after UNESCO assessment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes:

(i)   that the Government and the Opposition did not support the Australian Greens' motion on 9 November 2011 that 'all applications and approvals made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [the Act] which would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be suspended until the conclusion of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] requested strategic assessment, to allow consideration of all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon',

(ii)   the comments by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ( Mr Burke) on Four Corners on Monday, 7 November 2011, that he would 'prefer a situation where as much as possible is able to be dealt with once we've concluded the strategic assessment, but people have legal rights under law to commence the process and those processes continue in the interim', and

(iii)   the Act already provides a suspension process for applications and approvals in particular circumstances and a revocation process for approvals in particular circumstances, both without compensation rights flowing to the proponent; and

(b)   calls on the Government to:

(i)   confirm that sections 130(5), 132, 144 and 145 of the Act allow the Minister to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, and(Read more about the status of the Great Barrier Reef on UNESCO.)

(ii)   if necessary, urgently amend the Act to confer on the Minister the power to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, to allow that strategic assessment to properly consider all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon.

References

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Coral Sea - Declare marine national park

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Bob Brown.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

(a)   notes the unique biodiversity and natural heritage of the Coral Sea that is home to the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle and endangered green turtle;

(b)   recognises that 2012 will be the 70th anniversary of the historically important Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 that changed the face of World War II; and

(c)   calls on the Government to declare the Coral Sea the world's largest marine national park.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

9th Nov 2011 – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef - Suspend applications and approvals until after UNESCO assessment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

This means that the motion was not successful.

The motion was:

That the Senate calls for all applications and approvals made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 which would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be suspended until the conclusion of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization requested strategic assessment, to allow consideration of all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally significant biodiversity icon.(Read more about the status of the Great Barrier Reef on UNESCO.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

27th Aug 2008, 5:01 PM – Senate Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 - Referral to Committee

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The motion failed to get a majority and so was rejected. This is because an equal number of senators voted 'aye' and 'no'. It was introduced by Family First Senator Steve Fielding.

The motion was: "That the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 be referred to the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee for inquiry and report by 10 November 2008."

Senator Fielding explained that the reason for his motion was the "concern about the changes in the definitions and direction of the management of the park and about the definition of the precautionary principle, which basically could end up stopping any recreational fishing in the marine park".(Read his full explanation here.)

References

No No Not passed

27th Aug 2008, 4:08 PM – Senate Motions - Gunns Pulp Mill - Provide the report on potential marine impact

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The majority voted against a motion put by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

"That there be laid on the table, no later than 4 pm on 28 August 2008, the report prepared for the Federal Government by Dr Michael Herzfeld, a Coastal Environmental Modeller with the Marine and Atmospheric Research section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in conjunction with the Gunns Pulp Mill Independent Expert Group on the potential marine impact of effluent from the Gunns pulp mill."

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

21st Jun 2007, 8:40 PM – Senate Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 2007 - In Committee - extend boundaries of Park to EEZ

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Jan McLucas, which means that it was rejected.

Ms McLucas explained that the purpose of her amendment was "to extend the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park region to the boundaries of the exclusive economic zone" (EEZ).(Read Ms McLucas's full explanation and the associated debate here, beginning from 8:14 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced in response to recommendations made in the Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders (the Uhrig Review).(Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest. ) The bill amends the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to:

  • implement changes to the governance arrangements of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority;
  • provide for a periodic outlook report and the development of zoning plans for the Marine Park; and
  • replace the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee with a non-statutory advisory board.(A summary of the bill and its explanatory memorandum can be found here.)
absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

30th Mar 2006, 4:18 PM – Senate Motions - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - Add to endangered list

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which means it was unsuccessful. The motion was:

That the Senate- (a) notes that the Federal Government’s Climate Change: Risk and Vulnerability [1.8 MB] report states that:

(i) both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics are very sensitive to changes in temperature and that an increase of as little as 2°C could have devastating effects,

(ii) climate model projections suggest that within 40 years water temperatures could be above the survival limit of corals, and

(iii) the value and uniqueness of World Heritage listed areas are already established and these should be given prominence in adaptation research and planning;

(b) further notes that:

(i) the World Heritage Committee considers that the Great Barrier Reef is one of many World Heritage sites that will become increasingly affected by climate change-other prime examples include the Kilimanjaro National Park, biosphere reserves such as the Cape Floral Region in South Africa and cultural sites such as the Venice Lagoon which is threatened by the rise in sea level, and

(ii) at the World Heritage Committee meeting of climate change experts at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Headquarters in Paris on 16 and 17 March 2006, the Australian Government joined with the United States of America in arguing against the Great Barrier Reef being listed as World Heritage in Danger because of climate change; and

(c) calls on the Government to support inclusion of the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage in Danger list because of climate change.

Yes Yes Not 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 1 0 50
MP absent 5 125 250
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 3 30 30
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 9 9 18
Total: 164 368

*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 = 164 / 368 = 45%.

And then