How Sue Lines 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 Sue Lines Supporters vote Division outcome

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

Show detail

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.

Yes Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

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

Show detail

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.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

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

Show detail

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

Show detail

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

Show detail

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

Show detail

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.

No 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

Show detail

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

Show detail

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

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

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

Show detail

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

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

Show detail

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.

No Yes (strong) 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 3 150 150
MP voted against policy 2 0 100
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 4 40 40
MP voted against policy 8 0 80
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 10 10 20
Total: 225 440

*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 = 225 / 440 = 51%.

And then