RU486 votes in the House of Reps – updated with full voting list

I rarely pay much attention to most of what is said and done in the House of Representatives, but like many I have been following their debates on the RU486 issue. The Second Reading of the legislation has just passed by 95 votes to 50, which is quite a sizeable margin. There will be some support for the amendments moved by Bowman MP, Andrew Laming, and I expect those numbers will be a lot tighter (update at 1.50pm – the amendments lost 56-90 and the Bill was passed unchanged). If they succeed had succeeded, the Bill will have to return would have been returned to the Senate. I haven’t got the full voting lists yet. When I do I will add it to the bottom of this post to go with my post listing who voted which way in the Senate. The passage of this Bill – and particularly the process by which is was achieved – is really quite historic, and the women who drove the process,some of whom risked quite a bit, deserve congratulations.

UPDATE: In what I presume is a coincidence, the front page of today’s Guardian newspaper in the UK has a story about the results of a new pilot project which has found that “Women who are less than nine weeks pregnant can safely have medical abortions at home.” Currently in the UK, “chemical abortions are available before the 12th week of pregnancy. Women who request it take one tablet of mifepristone (i.e. RU486) at a hospital then return two days later to take four doses of misoprostol which causes a termination within hours.” The trial has been testing whether it could be taken safely at home. The head of the Family Planning Association says “Medical abortion is a highly safe and effective procedure“.

The voting list in the Second Reading of the legislation:

Ayes………… 95
Noes………… 50
Majority……… 45


Adams, Dick – ALP, Tas; Albanese, Anthony – ALP, NSW; Bailey, Fran – Lib, NSW; Baird, Bruce – Lib, NSW; Beazley, Kim – ALP, WA; Bevis, Arch – ALP, Qld; Billson, Bruce – Lib, Vic; Bird, Sharon – ALP, NSW; Bishop, Julie – Lib, WA; Bowen, Chris – ALP, NSW; Brough, Mal – Lib, Qld; Burke, Anna – ALP, Vic; Cobb, John – Nat, NSW; Corcoran, Anne – ALP, Vic; Costello, Peter – Lib, Vic; Crean, Simon – ALP, Vic; Danby, Michael – ALP, Vic; Edwards, Graham – ALP, WA; Elliot, Justine – ALP, NSW; Ellis, Annette – ALP, ACT; Ellis, Kate – ALP, SA; Emerson, Craig – ALP, Qld; Entsch, Warren – Lib, Qld; Ferguson, L – ALP, NSW; Ferguson, Martin – ALP, Vic; Fitzgibbon, Joel – ALP, NSW; Gambaro, Teresa – Lib, Qld; Garrett, Peter – ALP, NSW; Gash, Joanna – Lib, Vic; Georganas, Steve – ALP, SA; George, Jenny – ALP, NSW; Georgiou, Petro – Lib, Vic; Gibbons, Steve – ALP, Vic; Gillard, Julia – ALP, Vic; Grierson, Sharon – ALP, NSW; Griffin, Alan – ALP, Vic; Haase, Barry – Lib, WA; Hall, Jill – ALP, NSW; Hatton, Michael – ALP, NSW; Henry, Stuart – Lib, WA; Hoare, Kellie – ALP, NSW; Hockey, Joe – Lib, NSW; Hull, Kay – Nat, NSW; Hunt, Greg – Lib, Vic; Irwin, Janet – Lib, NSW; Jenkins, Harry – ALP, Vic; Jensen, Dennis – Lib, WA; Johnson, Michael – Lib, Ryan; Jull, David – Lib, Qld; Keenan, Michael – Lib, WA; Kerr, Duncan – ALP, Tas; King, Catherine – ALP, Vic; Laming, Andrew – Lib, Qld; Lawrence, Carmen – ALP, WA; Ley, Susan – Lib, NSW; Lindsay, Peter – Lib, Qld; Livermore, Kirsten – ALP, Qld; Macfarlane, Ian – Lib, Qld; Macklin, Jenny – ALP, Vic; May, Margaret – Lib, Qld; McArthur, Stuart – Lib, Vic; McClelland, Bob – Lib, NSW; McMullan, Bob – ALP, ACT; Melham, Daryl – ALP, NSW; Moylan, Judi – Lib, WA; Nairn, Gary – Lib, NSW; Nelson, Brendan – Lib, NSW; O’Connor, Brendan – ALP, Vic; Owens, Julie – ALP, NSW; Pearce, Chris – Lib, Vic; Plibersek, Tanya – ALP, NSW; Price, Roger – ALP, NSW; Prosser, Geoff – Lib, WA; Quick, Harry – ALP, Tas; Ripoll, Bernie – ALP, Qld; Roxon, Nicola – ALP, Vic; Rudd, Kevin – ALP, Qld; Scott, Bruce – Nat, Qld; Sercombe, Bob – ALP, Vic; Smith, Tony – Lib, Vic; Smith, Stephen – ALP, WA; Snowdon, Warren – ALP, NT; Southcott, Andrew – Lib, SA; Stone, Sharman – Lib, Vic; Swan, Wayne – ALP, Qld; Tanner, Lindsay – ALP, Vic; Thompson, Cameron – Lib, Qld; Thomson, Kelvin – ALP, Vic; Ticehurst, Ken – Lib, NSW; Turnbull, Malcolm – Lib, NSW; Vamvakinou, Maria – ALP, Vic; Washer, Mal – Lib, WA; Wilkie, Kim – ALP, WA; Windsor, Tony – Ind, NSW; Wood, Jason – Lib, Vic.


Abbott, Tony – Lib, NSW; Anderson, John – Nat, NSW; Andrews, Kevin – Lib, Vic; Baker, Mark – Braddon, Tas; Baldwin, Bob – Lib, NSW; Barresi, Phil – Lib, Vic; Bartlett, Kerry – Lib, NSW; Bishop, Bronwyn – Lib, NSW; Broadbent, Russell – Lib, Vic; Burke, Tony – ALP, NSW; Byrne, Anthony – ALP, Vic; Cadman, Alan – Lib, NSW; Causley, Ian – Nat, NSW; Ciobo, Stephen – Lib, Qld; Downer, Alexander – Lib, SA; Draper, Trish – Lib, SA; Dutton, Peter – Lib, Qld; Farmer, Pat – Lib, NSW; Fawcett, David – Lib, SA; Ferguson, Michael – Lib, Tas; Forrest, John – Nat, Vic; Hardgrave, Gary – Lib, Qld; Hartsuyker, Luke – Nat, NSW; Hayes, Chris – ALP, NSW; Howard, John – Lib, NSW; Katter, Bob – Ind, Qld; Kelly, Deanne – Nat, Qld; Kelly, Jackie – Lib, NSW; Lloyd, Jim – Lib, NSW; Markus, Louise – Lib, NSW; McGauran, Peter – Nat, Vic; Murphy, John – ALP, NSW; Neville, Paul – Nat, Qld; .O’Connor, Gavin – ALP, Vic; Panopoulos, Sophie – Lib, Vic; Pyne, Chris – Lib, SA; Randall, Don – Lib, WA; Richardson, Kym – Lib, SA; Robb, Andrew – Lib, Vic; Ruddock, Philip – Lib, NSW; Schultz, Alby – Lib, NSW; Secker, Patrick – Lib, SA; Slipper, Peter – Lib, Qld; Somlyay, Alex – Lib, Qld; Tollner, Dave – CLP, NT; Truss, Warren – Nat, Qld; Tuckey, Wilson – Lib, WA; Vale, Danna – Lib, NSW; Vasta, Ross – Lib, Qld; Wakelin, Barry – Lib, SA.

Absent from 2nd Reading vote:

Mark Vaile (Nat, NSW); Rod Sawford (ALP, SA); Kay Elson (Lib, Qld); Peter Andren (Ind, NSW). The Speaker, David Hawker (Lib, Vic) does not vote unless there is a tie.

Party Breakdown:
ALP – 54 in favour, 5 against;
Lib/CLP – 37 in favour, 36 against;
Nat – 3 in favour, 8 against;
Ind – 1 in favour, 1 against.

Gender breakdown:
Male – 66 in favour, 43 against;
Female – 29 in favour, 7 against.

State breakdown:
NSW – 29 in favour, 19 against.
Vic – 27 in favour, 9 against.
Qld – 16 in favour, 10 against.
WA – 13 in favour, 2 against.
SA – 3 in favour, 7 against.
Tas – 3 in favour, 2 against.
ACT – 2 in favour, 0 against.
NT – 1 in favour, 1 against.

The gender difference is still strong, but not as pronounced as the Senate vote. The Labor vote in favour was much more pronounced than in the Senate, while the Libs were split roughly evenly in both houses. I was surprised at how strongly in favour the West Australians were, and also how strongly against the South Australians were – the only state to have a majority against.

One of the interesting things about a conscience vote is that when people vote according to their personal views on a specific issue, their votes don’t always match one’s stereotypes. There were a few votes that were different from what I had expected. The National’s John Cobb and Bruce Scott, Independent Tony Windsor, Labor’s Michael Danby and Kevin Rudd were all people I thought might vote against, and I thought the Lib’s Russell Broadbent would vote in favour.

The key test after the Second Reading vote was the amendments moved by Andrew Laming. In shorthand, they would have removed approval from the Health Minister, allowed the TGA to assess the safety of RU486 and related drugs, but still allowed either House of Parliament the power to then vote to prevent approval.

The amendments were defeated by 56 votes to 90.

I won’t reprint another whole list of names (if you want to look at them all, go to this page, click on the Hansard for 16th February and go to about page 41). Most people who voted against the Second Reading voted for the amendments and vice versa. The only variations were as follows:

8 who voted for the Second Reading and also supported the amendments:

Joe Hockey (Lib, NSW); Greg Hunt (Lib, Vic); David Jull (Lib, Qld); Michael Keenan (Lib, WA); Andrew Laming (Lib, Qld); Chris Pearce (Lib, Vic); Bruce Scott (Nat, Qld); Malcolm Turnbull (Lib, NSW).

2 who voted against the Second Reading and against the amendments:

Russell Broadbent (Lib, Vic); Luke Hatsuyker (Nat, NSW).

1 who didn’t vote on the Second Reading but voted against the amendments:

Peter Andren (Ind, NSW).

I think it is reasonable to assume that the 8 above would have voted in favour of the Bill on the Third Reading vote (Turnbull put this on the record in his case), but as there was no Division called it can’t be guaranteed who would have voted which way. I’m not quite sure what the final position of the other three would have been – I may have a burrow through the Hansard and see if any of them spoke to the Bill and gave any indication.

For trivia buffs, the motion for the final vote on the Bill was moved at 1.51pm by WA Liberal Mal Washer.

PS: One last statistic, but quite an interesting one – the breakdown of how the Ministers voted:

Cabinet: 8 in favour, 8 against, 1 absent.
Outer Ministry: 6 in favour, 7 against.
Parl Secretaries: 6 in favour, 6 against.

Total Ministry, including Parliamentary Secretaries: 20 in favour, 21 against and 1 absent (Mark Vaile).

* Note: Senators Ian Campbell and Rod Kemp did not vote, but they made an informal arrangement to ‘pair’ their votes. Rod Kemp opposed the legislation but was overseas, so Ian Campbell who supported the legislation, abstained to balance their votes. I have recorded them in the above statistic as if they had voted.

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  1. The Bill was passed on the voices, it was indicated by the commentator on Newsradio that the PM indicated no division was necessary. Malcolm Turnbull maanged to get his support for the Bill on the record.

  2. Sooooo…
    this is a bit off topic, but since Abbott, Costello and Turnbull are all leadership contenders, how do you think this’ll affect things Andrew.
    Do you think Abbott will be harmed by the obvious loss?
    Do you think Costello took his stance to stick it up the Pm and Abbott?
    Did Turnbull make sure he wasn’t sidelined in order to keep his flag flying?

  3. Wonderful news. Assuming of course that the TGA is genuinely independent of government.

    Abbott must be regretting his “no confidence” speech right about now.

  4. There was a Division on the Second Reading and also on the amendment. That will give names, which gives indication enough. Although I was surprised there wasn’t a final division, I imagine the numbers would have been almost identical to those who voted for the Second Reading, minus perhaps a few of those who who voted for the amendment. The names should be available with he Hansard in the morning, if not sooner. I’ll post them up here when I get them, and maybe do a breakdown by party, gender and state again.

  5. Also, every MP who wanted their stance on the record did so over the few days of speeches, so it’s not like they don’t have to be accountable for their position.

  6. What a wonderful result from independent thought. Those who initiated the idea, and the bill, and carried it through, deserve our heartfelt congratulations and thanks.

    Thanks too for the numbers and names, especially as it seems certain there was an attempt to blot the record.

    It is not quite the same as sorting the wheat from the chaff. There is more to it than that. More voting by conscience I say.

    Still an idealist.

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  8. Matt

    My polite view is that her comments were silly, and certainly not backed up by any coherent analysis of Australia’s demographic statistics. Mind you, I didn’t find it any more offensive than some of what Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Panopoulos have said about Mulsim women who choose to wear head scarves. It is a clear indication of the general fear of Muslims that is taking hold of some people.

    I don’t think Dana makes comments like these in as calculating a way as some – I think in her case it was more of a poorly thought through apprehension which she pulled out in an attempt to strengthen her arguments against abortion.

    However, to balance things out a bit, Danna Vale is one of the few federal Liberals who has publicly expressed concern about the David Hicks situation, and she was one of those who pushed to overturn state and territory laws imposing mandatory sentencing.

    Her ‘Gallipoli on the Mornington Peninsula’ idea wasn’t expressed terribly well, but I don’t think it deserved the level of ridicule that it copped.

    However, the “we’ll be overrun by Muslims” comment is definitely barking.

  9. I am still seething that this wasn’t done for the invasion of Iraq and the jailing of children in the desert, the Pacific solution and other atrocities.

    We see the new pictures of Abu Ghraib, the film of the Brits beating kids, people still dying by the thousands every day and the catastrophes of DIMA and AWB.

    I wonder why Abbott forced this debate right now? A cynic could say they wasted the week so as to think about the above. Downer looked drunk tonight on Lateline and was even more obnoxious and stupid than usual.

    This government collectively never knows one important thing that is going on or is not happening but they waste three days on changing a process.

    I am surprised though that 40 of the coalition actually went against Howard and Abbott.

  10. I thought the bill was introdceud by 4 female senaotrs as an indepenednet bill – not sure how that can be construed as Abbot forcing the debate marilyn.

  11. Thanks wmmbb – I’ve corrected it.
    (knew I’d stuff one up somewhere)

    Geoff – re your Question at #2:
    I think the stance taken on this issue by all the people you mentioned has been fairly genuine. I don’t really put a lot of energy into tracking internal leadership tensions and the like – (a) because I can’t influence them anyway and have enough on my own plate, and (b) a lot of it is overstated, with the media looking for drama and theatre, which also means they don’t worry reporting on the policies and issues which actually directly impact on people’s lives.

    Having said that, there is some broader value in having some idea of the personal-political dynamics around the place. I think most of the people whose actions have been on jockeying for personal internal positioning have been those a bit lower down the ranks, looking to curry favour to help their chances of personal advancement down the track.

    FWIW, my feelings regarding those you mentioned:
    I think Abbott’s standing has been a bit harmed because he did ratchet this up more than was needed, and to some extent helped build the momentum that has now washed over him (see this post which touches a bit more on some of that). However, I doubt it’s anything terminal. He’ll find other ways to pursue his agenda – indeed he already has been to some extent through actions such as directing most pregancy counselling/family planning $$$ towards anti-abortion organisations.

    Similarly, while it will have given Costello a bit of a positive boost, it probably won’t mean much in itself in the long run. Howard is still unchallengable and will remain so unless the economy turns sour (which could hurt Costello just as much anyway), or the AWB thing turns up something much worse than I think it will. AWB may yet burn a Minister or two, but it’s hard to see it touching Howard too much.

  12. The RU486 bill was originally introduced by the Democrats. The Democrats then formed a collaborative group with Senators across the party divide.

    The passage of the RU486 bill, is an example of the Democrats acting one of their policy issues despite the fact that they no longer hold the balance of power. It just goes to show that you can achieve an outcome by working with other parties.

  13. As my local member and the fact that I’ve followed what he’s said for a couple years now – Andren said he’d Abstain

  14. People don’t realise that they used to pay up 30% Wholesale tax on particular items before the GST. They now pay 10%.

    Without the introduction of the GST some states would not be able to fund health and education systems. Money raised from the collection of GST goes to the states. Don’t forget, income tax was also lowered when the GST was introduced.

    It is time for people to get over Meg Lees’ GST and stop punishing the Democrats for it. BTW, Senator Bartlett and Senator Stott Despoja voted against the GST. The Democrats allow a conscience vote.

  15. Several things…
    1/ I really like Meg Lees.
    2/ Most Australians IMO expected the Democrats to block the GST.
    3/ The GST was supposed to simplify the tax system… with the changes brought in under the deal with the Democrats… the tax system was made more complicated.
    4/ Lots of taxes that were to be abolished weren’t.

  16. i hope this debate has stopped those on the right saying that “only left wing radicals” support abortion.

    I am a mildly left wing person, and strongly do NOT believe in the right to abortion. It has been one of the few times in my life i have found myself agreeing with tony abbott. There are many on the left that aren’t being represented on this issue.

    Nobody should be given the choice to end a life, not the state, not a murderer and not a female.

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