How Sue Lines voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation that increases the protection of Australia's fresh water resources, including its river and groundwater systems

Division Sue Lines Supporters vote Division outcome

24th Nov 2014, 5:06 PM – Senate Motions - Foreign Investment - Limit foreign investment

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne, which would have put further limits on foreign investment.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate

(a) notes:

(i) the Free Trade memorandum of understanding [63.5KB] signed between Australia and China, and

(ii) that climate change, with its consequent global food insecurity, is driving governments to acquire land and water outside their own borders as sources of food supply; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) create a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land and water assets to continuously track overseas purchases,

(ii) lower the threshold from $248 million to $5 million for consideration of the national interest by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for purchases of agricultural land and water by a foreign private entity,

(iii) legislate a stronger national interest test to be applied by the FIRB for purchases of agricultural land and water resources, and

(iv) prohibit the purchase of agricultural land and water by wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign governments.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Sep 2014, 1:38 PM – Senate Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Independent study before grant of mining licences

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. The motion would have removed schedule 5 from the commencement provisions of the bill so that it does not commence with the rest of the schedules and therefore remains ineffective.

Schedule 5 contains environmental provisions, including a provision that repeals section 255AA of the Water Act 2007, which "requires an independent study to be undertaken before the grant of mining licences on floodplains in the Murray-Darling system". (Read more about Schedule 5 and this particular provision in the bills digest. )

Senator Waters explained that with this schedule, the government is proposing "to allow companies to proceed with mining of gold, silver, copper—a whole host of mines that can have subsidence impacts—without doing the independent study on groundwater that existing section 255AA of the Water Act requires them to do" (see Senator Waters' full explanation here).

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to "reduce regulatory burden for business, individuals and the community sector" (see the explanatory memorandum) and to repeal redundant provisions that are either duplications or have ceased to have effect. The provisions of the bill that make material changes have been identified and discussed in the bills digest.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Sep 2014, 1:32 PM – Senate Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 - in Committee - Independent study before grant of mining licences

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that schedule 5 "stand as printed" (i.e. that schedule 5 remain unchanged). Schedule 5 contained environmental provisions, including the repeal of section 255AA of the Water Act 2007, which "requires an independent study to be undertaken before the grant of mining licences on floodplains in the Murray-Darling system". (Read more about Schedule 5 and this particular provision in the bills digest.)

This motion was put in response to an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, which called for schedule 5 to be opposed. Senator Waters explained that with this schedule, the government is proposing "to allow companies to proceed with mining of gold, silver, copper—a whole host of mines that can have subsidence impacts—without doing the independent study on groundwater that existing section 255AA of the Water Act requires them to do" (see Senator Waters' full explanation here).

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to "reduce regulatory burden for business, individuals and the community sector" (see the explanatory memorandum) and to repeal redundant provisions that are either duplications or have ceased to have effect. The provisions of the bill that make material changes have been identified and discussed in the bills digest.

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

17th Jul 2014, 12:07 PM – Senate Motions - National Water Commission - Reverse position on closure

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens), which means it passed. 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:

(i) water is one of our most important resources and is critical to Australia's economic growth,

(ii) the National Water Commission (the Commission) plays a crucial role in monitoring, auditing and assessing water policy,

(iii) the independence of the Commission is vital to its effectiveness, and

(iv) the 2011 Council of Australian Governments review of the Commission stated that it should continue 'for the lifetime of the NWI' and 'without sunset provision until the NWI is substantially replaced'; and

(b) calls on the Government to reverse its position on the closure of the Commission.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

15th May 2014, 12:14 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Bentley blockade

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The majority rejected the motion to support the Bentley blockade against gas exploration, which means that it was rejected. It was introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

Text of the motion

That the Senate-

(a)   notes:

(i)   the huge community opposition to Metgasco's plans to drill for tight gas near Bentley in New South Wales,

(ii)   that tight gas extraction involves hydraulic fracking which risks precious water resources, and

(iii)   that 84.5 per cent of Bentley locals want their lands and road gas-field free;

(b)   congratulates the Bentley blockaders for their commitment to protecting their land, water, the climate and regional communities from big gas; and

(c)   calls on:

(i)   the New South Wales Government to respect the rights of protesters to peacefully protest, and to respond to the community's valid concerns by revoking Metgasco's gas exploration permit, and

(ii)   the Australian Government to extend the current protections for water resources under our national environment laws to all unconventional gas, to give landholders the right to say no to gas mining on their land, and to not hand responsibility for protecting land and water from big gas to state governments.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

6th Mar 2014, 11:40 AM – Senate Landholders' Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority disagreed with the bill's main idea (in other words, they voted against reading the bill for a second time). This means that the bill was rejected and won't be considered further.

Main idea of the bill

The bill would have given landholders the right to say no to gas and coal mining activities by corporations on food producing land, unless the corporations had written authorisation that followed particular requirements.

Background to the bill

Greens Senator Larissa Waters introduced the bill as a private member's bill. She believed that the bill was necessary because the efforts in Queensland and New South Wales to protect prime agricultural land had failed to protect farmers (see ABC News). You can watch Senator Waters' second reading speech on youtube.

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

19th Jun 2013, 11:09 AM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Report the bill

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that "the bill be reported". This is a procedural motion and follows the earlier vote in committee to agree to the bill as it is.

This motion officially concludes the consideration of the bill in committee stage.(See [http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/~/link.aspx?_id=E6FC77EE462F454EBDBE776AA771F0D7&_z=z here] for more information about what it means to report the bill. ) The next step is for the Senate to adopt the committee's report before finally voting on whether to read the bill a third time and therefore pass it through the Senate so it can become law.(See here for more information about what it means to adopt a committee report. ) In fact, this is what subsequently occurred without any further division.(The report was adopted without division and then the bill was read a third time. )

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.) This is called a ‘water trigger’. The bill creates penalties and offences to prohibit such actions.

References

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

19th Jun 2013, 11:05 AM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Stand as printed

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the bill stand as printed.(See the Brief Guide to Senate Procedure, under the 'Proceedings in committee of the whole' subheading, for more information about these types of procedural motions. )

This vote ends any further consideration of the bill in the committee stage and means that the majority of senators agree with the bill as it is.

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.) This is called a ‘water trigger’. The bill creates penalties and offences to prohibit such actions.

References

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

19th Jun 2013, 10:56 AM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Extend protection

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The majority voted against a Greens Party amendment that has three parts:

  • The first part is retrospective so that certain previously approved developments are subject to the water provisions contained in this bill;
  • The second part is aimed at ensuring that the federal government retains final veto power against state governments;
  • The final part is aimed at protecting national parks.

The amendment was introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.) This is called a ‘water trigger’. The bill creates penalties and offences to prohibit such actions.

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

19th Jun 2013 – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Exclude exploration, assessment and appraisal from bill

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The majority voted against an amendment to exclude "exploration, assessment or appraisal pursuant to a petroleum title granted under a law of a State or Territory" from the definitions of coal seam gas development and large coal mining development.

Debate in Parliament

The amendment was introduced by Senator Simon Birmingham to draw a distinction between "exploration or appraisal activities and actual production and development activities".(You can read Senator Birmingham's comments about the amendment here. )

Labor Senator Stephen Conroy said that all the issues raised by Senator Birmingham have been "fully considered" by the Senate committee and they recommended that the bill be passed.(You can read Senator Conroy's comments here. A copy of the Senate committee's report is available here. )

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.) This is called a ‘water trigger’. The bill creates penalties and offences to prohibit such actions.

References

No No Not passed by a small majority

17th Jun 2013, 9:43 PM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Bilateral agreements

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The majority voted in favour of items 3A, 4A and 4B of Schedule 1 remaining as they are. These three items were inserted by amendment in the House of Representatives.(That division is available here. )

The items give precedence to the subdivision of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) that protects water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas development and large coal mining development,(This subdivision is available to read on ComLaw, the Commonwealth website that contains the full text of all recent Australian Government legislation. For more on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) see the Wikipedia entry. ) even where bilateral agreements would otherwise allow a state government to act in respect of this type of development without approval.

The question was put after Senator Simon Birmingham moved an amendment to oppose those items.

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.) This is called a ‘water trigger’. The bill creates penalties and offences to prohibit such actions.

References

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

17th Jun 2013, 8:07 PM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Amend to make more specific

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The majority voted against a motion to change the wording of proposed section 24D(2)(a). The motion was introduced by Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham.

Debate in Parliament

The proposed section 24D(2)(a) contained in the bill currently reads: (2) A person must not take an action if: (a) the action involves: (i) coal seam gas development; or (ii) large coal mining development; and ...

Senator Birmingham's motion was an amendment to change the word "involves" to "is a". He said that the current wording is too broad and so this amendment would "minimise the potential ... for there to be any unintended consequences as a result".

Labor Senator Jan McLucas disagreed, saying that Senator Birmingham's amendment "would limit the bill to activity which is a coal seam gas or large coalmining development rather than activity which involves such developments".

Background to the Bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.)

References

No No Not passed by a small majority

17th Jun 2013, 7:46 PM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Amend to include shale gas, tight gas and underground coal gasification

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

The amendment would have changed the bill so that:

  • the definition of "coal seam gas development" includes shale gas extraction and tight gas extraction; and
  • the definition of "large coal mining development" includes underground coal gasification mining activity.

Background to the bill

The purpose of the bill is to protect water resources from significant impacts caused by coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.(See here for more information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 2 100 100
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 7 70 70
MP voted against policy 12 0 120
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 5 5 10
Total: 175 300

*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 = 175 / 300 = 58%.

And then