How John Howard voted compared to someone who believes that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators should vote to speed things along by supporting motions to 'put the question' (known as 'closure' or 'gag' motions), which require Parliament to immediately vote on a question rather than debating it any further

Division John Howard Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Aug 2007, 9:10 AM – Representatives Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Testing) Legislation - Speed things along

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to speed things along. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to put the question.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

2nd Nov 2006, 11:29 AM – Representatives Medibank Private Sale Bill 2006 - Allotment of Time - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to put the question, which was moved by Liberal MP Tony Abbott.

The question in this case was a procedural motion "That the time allotted for the remaining stages of the bill be until 1.30 pm this day", which was subsequently put.(See that division here. ) This question follows on from Mr Abbott's previous motion that the bill be considered an urgent one.(Read more about that division here. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to allow the federal government to sell its interest in Medibank Private Limited and allow Medibank to operate on a “for profit” basis. The Coalition Government plans to do this after the 2007 election, should it be re-elected.(Read more about this privatisation proposal on Wikipedia here and on the ABC's World Today program here.)

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case John Howard was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.