How Sue Lines voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should allow companies to mine coal seam (CSG), tight and shale gas

Division Sue Lines Supporters vote Division outcome

22nd Feb 2016, 4:14 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Narrabri coal seam gas project

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Federal Government has approved coal seam gas mining in the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri in New South Wales, with Santos planning to develop an 850-well field,

(ii) the Pilliga Push is an ongoing civil disobedience campaign against this mining led by the Gamilaraay and Gomeroi peoples, the Knitting Nannas and other grassroots action groups in New South Wales, and

(iii) the Narrabri coal seam gas project presents an unacceptable risk to the region's groundwater and the Great Artesian Basin; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) condemn the New South Wales Police Force's use of pepper spray against the protesters, and

(ii) withdraw its approval of the Narrabri coal seam gas project.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

24th Nov 2015, 3:56 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Landholders' right to say "no"

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. The motion asked for the Senate to agree that landowners should have the right to say "no" to coal seam gas activity on their land.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the Victorian National Party’s announcement in early 2015 that they ‘support landowners having the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their land’,

(ii) comments by the Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Mr Truss MP, that farmers should have the right to say yes or no to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on their property,

(iii) comments by:

(a) the Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Mr Joyce MP, and

(b) the Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and Minister for Rural Health, Senator Nash,

supporting a right for farmers to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land,

(iv) reports that:

(a) the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr McCormack MP, and

(b) Mr Broad MP, and Senators McKenzie, Williams and Canavan,

support the right of farmers to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land; and

(b) agrees that landowners should have the right to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

15th Oct 2015, 12:38 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Ombudsman and audit

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Independent Senator Glenn Lazarus in relation to coal seam gas mining.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the people of Queensland have no legal right to stop mining companies from entering their land to mine coal seam gas (CSG);

(b) further notes that rural and regional communities across Queensland are being devastated by the impact of CSG mining, including loss of underground water, contamination of underground and surface water, health impacts, mental health issues, reduced quality of life, reduced land values and other forms of stress, trauma and suffering;

(c) acknowledges that the impact of CSG mining and the behaviour of resource companies in harassing, bullying and intimidating landholders is splintering families, dividing communities and creating personal and financial hardship;

(d) understands that the people affected by CSG mining have no fair and equitable legal recourse to address their concerns given the significant power imbalance between those affected and the mining companies;

(e) calls on the Government to urgently consider the establishment of a Resources Ombudsman and a CSG Mining Commissioner to address the issues being experienced by the people of Queensland and elsewhere across the country affected by CSG mining; and

(f) urges the Government to consider undertaking an urgent audit of the human impacts of CSG mining, and to establish support services and other forms of assistance, including medical assistance, for those affected by CSG mining.

No No (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

26th Mar 2015, 12:44 PM – Senate Motions — Coal Seam Gas

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Senator Larissa Waters moved:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

  • (i) the concern expressed by regional communities about the impacts on food security and water resources from coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas, and

  • (ii) That the Federal Government has power to regulate the conduct of constitutional corporations, including corporations involved in coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas mining; and

(b) agrees that:

  • (i) food security and water resources should be prioritised over coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas mining, and

  • (ii) the Federal Government should use its constitutional powers to regulate the conduct of corporations undertaking coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas mining.

Senator Fiona Nash made a reply statement:

I have consistently said that if there is going to be a negative impact on prime agricultural land then coal seam gas mining should not occur. The government opposes this motion. The government does not make policy on the run in response to Greens notices of motion in the Senate, and we will not dignify the Greens' cheap political stunt with our vote.

No No (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

19th Mar 2015, 11:28 AM – Senate Motions — Ban donations to political parties from mining and coal seam gas (CSG) companies

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Senator Lee Rhiannon moved:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the New South Wales Labor Party recently received a political donation from coal seam gas company Santos Ltd,

  • (ii) the New South Wales Labor Party subsequent to taking the donation, returned $2 200 to Santos Ltd acknowledging this money would cause community doubt that Labor was committed to a coal seam gas free north coast,

  • (iii) in the recent New South Wales leaders' debate the Labor leader, Mr Luke Foley, failed to rule out coal seam gas development if Labor formed government with his statement that there is a role for gas in the state's energy future, and

  • (iv) the Federal Labor Party received more than $90 000 from Santos Ltd in the 2012 13 and 2013 14 financial years; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

  • (i) ban political donations from mining and coal seam gas companies, and

  • (ii) end coal seam gas and coal mining on agricultural land and associated water resources.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

5th Mar 2015 – Senate Motions — Coal Seam Gas

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Senator Larissa Waters moved the following motion:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the Victorian National Party announced in February 2015 that they 'support landowners having the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their land',

  • (ii) the National, Liberal and Labor parties voted down the Greens' Landholders' Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013 in March 2014, a bill which would have given landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their land, and

(b) the Greens re-introduced the Landholders' Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill on 4 March 2015; and

(b) agrees that landowners anywhere in Australia should have the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their land.

absent No (strong) Not passed by a small majority

3rd Mar 2015 – Senate Motions — Liverpool Plains

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Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters moved that the Senate:

(a) notes that:

  • (i) the Liverpool Plains is one of the most important agricultural regions in Australia with rare and highly productive black soils, excellent water resources and a favourable local climate,

  • (ii) farming has occurred on the Liverpool Plains for generations and the agricultural productivity of the area is up to 40 per cent above the national average for all farming regions of Australia,

  • (iii) highly productive agricultural land, like that of the Liverpool Plains, is a finite resource,

  • (iv) the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission has recently approved the development of Chinese state-owned company Shenhua's Watermark open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, which will extract 268 million tonnes of coal over 30 years, 3 kilometres from the town of Breeza,

  • (v) farmers in the region are angry and extremely concerned that if this coal mine goes ahead their soils and the highly interconnected groundwater aquifers they rely on will be irreversibly damaged,

  • (vi) the Northern Daily Leader reported on 4 July 2014 That the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Joyce) said, 'I think the idea of a coalmine on the Breeza Plains is an absurdity' and 'I think it's most likely that it's going to have a deleterious effect on the aquifers', and

  • (vii) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on 9 September 2014 that the Minister for Agriculture said of the Liverpool Plains, 'I've always said from the start that I don't believe that it is the appropriate place for a coal mine'; and

(b) believes That the Liverpool Plains should be permanently off limits to coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

9th Jul 2014, 3:51 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Right to say no

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The majority voted against a motion moved by Senator Penny Wright related to coal seam gas. The motion was:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the importance of protecting valuable agricultural, residential and conservation land from unconventional gas activities;

(b) supports the right of landholders and local residents to say 'no' to unconventional gas exploration and mining in their communities;

(c) recognises the concerns expressed by communities in the south east of South Australia over potential groundwater contamination from unconventional gas activities; and

(d) congratulates the South East Local Government Association in South Australia for standing up for their local communities and voting for a moratorium on unconventional gas.

No No Not passed by a modest 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 No Not passed by a modest majority

19th Mar 2014, 4:01 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Stop further approvals

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

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes:

(i) recent revelations of threats to water from the unconventional gas industry, including water contamination with uranium at 20 times the safe level, at coal seam gas company Santos' Pilliga operations,(Read more about this contamination here. )

(ii) recent reports of contamination of groundwater by asbestos contained in drilling fluids at Origin's coal seam gas operations in Queensland, and(Read more about this asbestos scare here.)

(iii) the important role of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development in advising on project impacts and conducting bioregional groundwater assessments; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) not issue any further approvals for unconventional gas mining under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act),

(ii) suspend all existing unconventional gas approvals,

(iii) maintain the funding for the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development,

(iv) expand the federal protection for water under the EPBC Act to include shale gas and tight gas mining, and

(v) retain federal powers to protect water from coal seam gas, rather than seeking to delegate these to state governments.

No No (strong) 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 No Not passed by a modest majority

13th Feb 2014, 12:23 PM – Senate Motions - Coal Seam Gas - Landholders' right to refuse

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. This means that the motion is rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes:

(i) the concern of communities in South Australia and Western Australia about their land and water being threatened by shale and other unconventional gas mining,(See, for example, this article on community concerns about fracking in South Australia. )

(ii) that landholders lack the legal right to refuse shale and other unconventional gas mining on their land, and

(iii) the scientific uncertainty surrounding the environmental and health implications of hydraulic fracturing (' fracking') for shale and other unconventional gas mining; and(Read more about fracking here.)

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) ban the use of fracking by the unconventional gas industry across Australia, and

(ii) support the Australian Greens' bill to give landholders the legal right to refuse shale and other unconventional gas mining on their land.

No No Not passed by a modest majority

14th Nov 2013, 11:23 AM – Senate Motions - Agriculture - Coal seam gas wells

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters. This means that the motion was rejected.

Read more about coal seam gas here.

Text of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) recent reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Prime Minister personally promised Tara resident, Ms Debbie Orr, that nobody should be forced to have a gas well on their property,

(ii) the Coalition's election platform that access to prime agricultural land should only be allowed with the farmer's agreement – the farmer should have the right to say yes or no to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on their property, and

(iii) that there are no constitutional limitations preventing the Federal Government from giving Australian landholders the legal right to say no to coal seam gas; and

(b) calls on the Government to follow through on these statements by giving landholders the legal right to say no to coal seam gas mining on their land under federal law.

No No 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 No 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 No 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 No 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 Yes Not passed by a small majority

19th Jun 2013 – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Owner consent

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The majority voted against a Greens Party amendment that would require the Minister to get the consent of land owners and occupiers before approving developments that this bill’s provisions apply to.

The Greens amendment was introduced by 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 No Not passed by a modest 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 No Passed by a small majority

17th Jun 2013, 8:37 PM – Senate Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 - In Committee - Amend to introduce an independent review

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The majority voted against the amendment, which would require the minister to have an independent review of the water trigger for coal seam gas and large coal developments (which is what this bill seeks to introduce).

The amendment was introduced by Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham.

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 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 Yes 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 No Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted moderately for" 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 0 0 0
MP absent 3 75 150
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 17 170 170
MP voted against policy 6 0 60
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 8 8 16
Total: 403 546

*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 = 403 / 546 = 74%.

And then