The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority want to pass the bill through the Senate and that it will now be sent to the House of Representatives for their consideration.
Background to the bill
The bill would require that bovine meat and meat products must meet certain assessment processes before being imported into Australia and that the minister determines a country of origin labelling standard for those products.(Read more about the bill, including the text of the bill here. )
Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck explained that the bill has been introduced "following the Rudd Government’s decision to allow the importation of beef and beef products from countries that had reported any cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)" (also known as mad cow disease).(Read Senator Colbeck's whole explanation of the bill here. Read more about the Rudd Government's decision to allow imports on ABC's AM Program here. ) This decision means that such importations could take place from 1 March 2010. Since 2001, measures have been in place "to protect the public and the beef industry from potentially contaminated beef products".(As above.)