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