How Michaelia Cash voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights by, for example, increasing their legal recognition and protection

Division Michaelia Cash Supporters vote Division outcome

21st Mar 2018, 3:58 PM – Senate Motions - Queensland: Native Title - Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement

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The majority voted against this motion, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate calls on the Queensland Government to publicly rule out extinguishing the native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou people before investigating the circumstances in which the Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement was obtained without clear and unambiguous Traditional Owner consent, and before the current Federal Court case examining its validity and any appeals are exhausted.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

13th Jun 2017, 7:26 PM – Senate Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the bill's main idea, which means they can now discuss it in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.

What is the bill's main idea?

The bill is a response to McGlade v Native Title Registrar & Ors [2017] FCAFC 10, which considers whether an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) can be registered with the Native Title Registrar even if not all named parties have signed. An Indigenous Land Use Agreement is a voluntary agreement that native title groups can negotiate with other parties in relation to the use of land and waters.

In that case, the Federal Court ruled that all parties must sign, which meant the Noongar Native Title agreement could not be registered (read more in ABC News).

This happened on 2 February, and the Government immediately moved to protect existing agreements with this bill. According to the explanatory memorandum, its purpose is to:

  • confirm the legal status and enforceability of agreements which have been registered by the Native Title Registrar on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements without the signature of all members of a registered native title claimant (RNTC)
  • enable registration of agreements which have been made but have not yet been registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements, and
  • ensure that in the future, area ILUAs can be registered without requiring every member of the RNTC to be a party to the agreement.

More detail and background information is available in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a large majority

3rd May 2016, 3:57 PM – Senate Motions - Budget - Radioactive Waste

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam that was against the nomination of Barndioota site in the Flinders Ranges for the National Radioactive Waste project.

Read more about the nomination in ABC News.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) on 27 November 2015 the Adnyamathanha traditional owners released a statement outlining their opposition to the nomination of Barndioota station to host a National Radioactive Waste facility with the statement detailing environmental conditions in the area, including flooding and yarta ngurra-ngurrandha (earthquakes and tremors), the importance of ground water and many mound springs close to the proposed site,

(ii) on 29 April 2016 press releases were issued from three different organisations that represent the Adnyamathanha traditional owners detailing their opposition to the nomination of Barndioota station,

(iii) the area is of cultural significance to Adnyamathanha,

(iv) Yappala was declared an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) by the Federal Government in 2014,

(v) there is extensive archaeological evidence of occupation in the surrounding area, and

(vi) there has been a lack of consultation with Adnyamathanha; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) acknowledge the opposition from the Adnyamathanha traditional owners, and

(ii) respect previous commitments on non-imposition and the importance of community consent, and remove the Barndioota site as a nominated site.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

20th Mar 2014, 12:20 PM – Senate Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Delegation) Regulation 2013 - Regulations and Determinations - Disallow the Regulation

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Labor Senator Claire Moore. The motion was:

"That the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Delegation) Regulation 2013, as contained in Select Legislative Instrument 2013 No. 272 and made under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, be disallowed [F2013L02122]."

This type of motion is a motion to disallow. Because the majority voted in favour of this motion, it was successful and the Regulation was disallowed.

Senator Moore explained that she brought this motion because she believes that when developing regulations related to Aboriginal land, two key points are always required:

  • effective consultation and
  • transparency, accountability and consistency in any kind of action that is taken.

Read Senator Moore's full explanation and the related debate and further debate, including Senator Moore's summing up speech.

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

14th Sep 2009, 6:19 PM – Senate Native Title Amendment Bill 2009 - In Committee - Proof of continuity

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was rejected. The amendment related to the issue of proving continuity (51.8 KB).

Senator Siewert explained that her amendment would have "reverse[d] the onus of proof so that native title holders do not have to prove continuity." Under this amendment "[t]here is a presumption of continuity ... [and] the state government and those opposing a claim have to prove otherwise." You can read Senator Siewert's whole explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here.

Background to the bill

The bill amends the _ Native Title Act 1993_ to:

  • enable the Federal Court to determine whether the court, the National Native Title Tribunal, or another individual/body should mediate native title claims;
  • specify the manner in which mediations are conducted;
  • change powers of the court in relation to agreed statements of fact and consent orders;
  • enable native title proceedings to rely on new evidence rules;
  • vary the operation of representative bodies, including their recognition and removal of transitional arrangements; and
  • make minor and technical amendments.

Read more about native title in Australia here.

No Yes Not passed by a large 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 1 0 50
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* 2 2 4
Total: 2 74

*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 = 2 / 74 = 2.7%.

And then