How Martin Ferguson voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should extend any financial and work-related entitlements and benefits that currently only apply to heterosexual couples to same-sex couples and their children

Division Martin Ferguson Supporters vote Division outcome

4th Jun 2008, 8:00 PM – Representatives Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - Superannuation) Bill 2008 - Second Reading - Keep motion to read a second time unchanged

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question. In other words, the majority wanted the words of the motion to remain unchanged. Those words were: "That this bill be now read a second time".

Leader of the Opposition Brendan Nelson had proposed the following motion: "That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House: (1) affirms its commitment to the central importance of the institution of marriage to Australian society; (2) recognises that partners to permanent interdependent domestic relationships other than marriage (including, but not limited to, same-sex relationships) ought not to be discriminated against in relation to their financial affairs; and (3) notes that the Opposition will refer the bill to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee with a view to ensuring that, in removing discrimination against people in same-sex relationships: (a) the centrality of marriage is not devalued, whether by the use of inappropriate statutory language or otherwise; (b) the rights and status of children are properly protected; and (c) the rights and status of people in interdependent relationships other than same-sex relationships are recognised and properly protected”."

Background to the bill

This bill was introduced to amend the fourteen Acts governing and regulating superannuation schemes in order to increase coverage of same-sex couples and their children.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest. Its explanatory memorandum can be found here.) It comes following Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's report Same Sex: Same Entitlements.

References

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

13th Aug 2007, 8:29 PM – Representatives Judges’ Pensions Amendment Bill 2007 - Second Reading - Same-sex de facto relationships

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The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the words proposed to be omitted (Ms Roxon’s amendment) stand part of the question." In other words, the majority wanted the original motion to remain unchanged and therefore disagreed with Labor MP Nicola Roxon's amendment.

The original motion was "That this bill be now read a second time."(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) To this, Ms Roxon proposed the following amendment:

"That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: ‘whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading the Opposition believes that the bill fails to give equal treatment to all judges by not treating judges in same-sex de facto relationships in the same way as heterosexual judges and their spouses or de facto spouses, and calls on the Government to amend the bill in order to give judges in same-sex relationships equal treatment’."

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced in response to recent reductions in the superannuation surcharge rate.(Read more about the background to the bill in its bills digest. ) It amends the Judges’ Pensions Act 1968 in order to insert a definition of ‘salary’ for pension purposes and fix technical deficiencies in the superannuation surcharge formula in relation to:

  • reduced rates of surcharge in 2003-04 and 2004-05;
  • treatment of invalidity and death benefits; and
  • payments made to discharge in part a judge’s surcharge debt.(More information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)
No No Passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 2 20 20
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 20 20

*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 = 20 / 20 = 100%.

And then