← Basic divisions list

These divisions relate to the policy “for letting environmental groups challenge the legality of certain government decisions”. Compare how a supporter of the policy would have voted to the division outcome.

11th Nov 2015 – Senate Motions - Legal System - Stop environmental groups from challenging government decisions - Division No. 1

Supporters vote “No (strong)”

Party Yes No
Australian Greens (90% turnout) 9
Australian Labor Party (75% turnout) 18
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (0.0% turnout)
Country Liberal Party (0.0% turnout)
Deputy President (100% turnout) 1
Family First Party (100% turnout) 1
Independent (75% turnout) 3
Liberal Democratic Party (100% turnout) 1
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2
Liberal Party (84% turnout) 21
National Party (50% turnout) 2
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 1
President (100% turnout) 1
Totals (79% turnout) 29 31

The majority voted against a motion introduced by Liberal National Party Senator Matthew Canavan that asked for the Labor Party "to support legislative amendments to close legal loopholes being exploited by green groups".

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the importance of a robust and clear legal system that allows for timely judicial review and certainty for investors and the community alike,

(ii) that the latest legal challenge brought by the Melbourne-based Australian Conservation Foundation to the development of the Galilee Basin is another cynical attempt to abuse due process,

(iii) that ongoing green law-fare is holding Queensland families to ransom, and jeopardising Australia's reputation as a place to do business, and

(iv) that rather than protecting the environment, the replacement of the Galilee Basin's lower-emission coal by higher-emission coal from other countries could instead cause an increase in global emissions; and

(b) calls on the Australian Labor Party to support legislative amendments to close legal loopholes being exploited by green groups.

Background to the motion

The "legislative amendments" mentioned in the motion refers to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015. That bill attempts to remove the right of groups involved in environmental protection, conservation or research to challenge government decisions made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

If that bill is passed, then groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation wouldn't be able to challenge the legality of Government decisions like the one to approve the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galiliee Basin.

Note that the bill doesn't just stop "green groups" from bringing actions like these, but any group involved in environmental protection, conservation or research, which is why farming groups also oppose it (see the bills digest).

10th Sep 2015, 1:29 PM – Representatives Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 - Third Reading - Pass the bill - Division No. 2

Supporters vote “No (strong)”

Party Yes No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 1
Australian Labor Party (84% turnout) 46
Country Liberal Party (100% turnout) 1
Deputy Speaker (100% turnout) 1
Independent (100% turnout) 2
Katter's Australian Party (0.0% turnout)
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 64
National Party (79% turnout) 11
Palmer United Party (0.0% turnout)
Speaker (0.0% turnout)
Totals (85% turnout) 77 49

The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the House of Representatives. In parliamentary jargon, they agreed to give the bill a third reading. This means that the bill will now go to the Senate for them to decide whether they also want to pass it so it can become law.

What is the main idea of the bill?

The purpose of this bill is to make it so that only "aggrieved persons" can seek judicial review of decisions made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

According to the bills digest, "[t]he Bill is a response to a successful challenge by the Mackay Conservation Group against the Minister for the Environment’s decision to grant approval under the EPBC Act for the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland (proposed by Adani Mining Pty Ltd)".

What is judicial review?

When a person seeks judicial review, they are asking the courts to decide whether the government has made a particular decision properly according to the law. The courts do not decide whether the decision was good or not; they only decide whether it was lawful.

In order to seek judicial review, you must have standing - meaning, the right to seek judicial review.

Currently, under the EPBC Act, Australian people and organisations involved with environmental protection, conservation or research can have standing to seek judicial review. That was how the Mackay Conservation Group were able to bring their action against the Carmichael coal mine.

Who is an "aggrieved person"?

An "aggrieved person" is a person whose interests would be ‘adversely affected’ by the decision made under the EPBC Act. Generally, those interests need to be directly affected and the person needs to be able to show a 'special interest' beyond just being a member of the public.

What does this mean?

The bills digest says that the bill "raises questions about accountable and responsible government" and it is also "unclear whether the Bill will achieve its intended purpose", which is to prevent disruptions and delays to projects approved under the EPBC Act.

10th Sep 2015, 1:20 PM – Representatives Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea - Division No. 1

Supporters vote “No (strong)”

Party Yes No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 1
Australian Labor Party (84% turnout) 46
Country Liberal Party (100% turnout) 1
Deputy Speaker (100% turnout) 1
Independent (100% turnout) 2
Katter's Australian Party (0.0% turnout)
Liberal Party (89% turnout) 64
National Party (79% turnout) 11
Palmer United Party (0.0% turnout)
Speaker (0.0% turnout)
Totals (85% turnout) 77 49

The majority voted in favour of the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they agreed to give the bill a second reading.

What is the main idea of the bill?

The purpose of this bill is to make it so that only "aggrieved persons" can seek judicial review of decisions made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

According to the bills digest, "[t]he Bill is a response to a successful challenge by the Mackay Conservation Group against the Minister for the Environment’s decision to grant approval under the EPBC Act for the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland (proposed by Adani Mining Pty Ltd)".

What is judicial review?

When a person seeks judicial review, they are asking the courts to decide whether the government has made a particular decision properly according to the law. The courts do not decide whether the decision was good or not; they only decide whether it was lawful.

In order to seek judicial review, you must have standing - meaning, the right to seek judicial review.

Currently, under the EPBC Act, Australian people and organisations involved with environmental protection, conservation or research can have standing to seek judicial review. That was how the Mackay Conservation Group were able to bring their action against the Carmichael coal mine.

Who is an "aggrieved person"?

An "aggrieved person" is a person whose interests would be ‘adversely affected’ by the decision made under the EPBC Act. Generally, those interests need to be directly affected and the person needs to be able to show a 'special interest' beyond just being a member of the public.

What does this mean?

The bills digest says that the bill "raises questions about accountable and responsible government" and it is also "unclear whether the Bill will achieve its intended purpose", which is to prevent disruptions and delays to projects approved under the EPBC Act.

20th Aug 2015, 12:18 PM – Senate Motions - Galilee Basin - Stop legal actions by anti-coal activists - Division No. 2

Supporters vote “No (strong)”

Party Yes No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 10
Australian Labor Party (88% turnout) 21
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (100% turnout) 1
Country Liberal Party (100% turnout) 1
Deputy President (0.0% turnout)
Family First Party (100% turnout) 1
Independent (50% turnout) 1 1
Liberal Democratic Party (100% turnout) 1
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2
Liberal Party (88% turnout) 22
National Party (100% turnout) 4
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 1
President (0.0% turnout)
Totals (87% turnout) 33 33

An equal number of Senators voted for and against the motion, which means it was unsuccessful. The motion concerned mining operations in the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point and called on the Government to "remov[e] legal loopholes that allow for the hijacking of approval processes for political purposes".

Motion text

That the Senate notes:

(a) the importance of the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point to the future development of northern Australia;

(b) the ongoing support of the Queensland and the Australian governments for the responsible and sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point;

(c) the actions of anti coal activists which have delayed billions of dollars in investment and thousands of much needed jobs; and

(d) the importance of maintaining the reputation of Queensland and Australia as a mining and resource hub by removing legal loopholes that allow for the hijacking of approval processes for political purposes.