How John Howard voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase the availability of RU486 and other medications that can induce an abortion

Division John Howard Supporters vote Division outcome

16th Feb 2006, 1:41 PM – Representatives Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of Ru486) Bill 2005 - Consideration in Detail - Amend the current process

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal MP Andrew Laming.

These amendments opposed the main purpose of this bill, which is to remove ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486 and related medicines. Instead, the amendments would have made some changes to the current process but fundamentally kept it in place. In other words, ultimate responsibility for approving RU486 would remain with the Minister. Senator Laming explained that his amendment ensures that Parliament will continue to have oversight over this controversial issue.(Read Mr Laming's full explanation and the associated debate here. )

This division was a conscience vote, meaning that members were not required to vote along party lines.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 in order to transfer the responsibility for regulatory approval of RU486 from the Minister for Health and Ageing to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This will make it possible to evaluate, register, list or import abortifacients such as RU486 (i.e. medicines intended to induce an abortion) for use in Australia without the approval of the Minister.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (342 KB). More information, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)

Yes No Not passed by a small majority

16th Feb 2006, 12:54 PM – Representatives Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of Ru486) Bill 2005 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a second time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority agree with the main idea of the bill and that they can now discuss it in more detail.

This division was a conscience vote, meaning that members were not required to vote along party lines.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 in order to transfer the responsibility for regulatory approval of RU486 from the Minister for Health and Ageing to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This will make it possible to evaluate, register, list or import abortifacients such as RU486 (i.e. medicines intended to induce an abortion) for use in Australia without the approval of the Minister.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (342 KB). More information, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

16th Feb 2006, 12:39 PM – Representatives Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of Ru486) Bill 2005 - Second Reading - Bill unacceptable

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Liberal MP Jackie Kelly, which means that it was rejected. The amendment would have amended the original motion "That this bill be now read a second time" with the following:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “the House is of the opinion that the bill is unacceptable in its current form and the preferred policy approach should be: (1) the Minister for Health and Ageing continuing to have the decision making role in relation to the approval of _restricted goods as defined in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989;_ (2) the Minister being required to obtain written advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration prior to giving written approval or refusal to approve; and (3) the Minister’s decision being subject to disallowance by each House of Parliament”.

This division was a conscience vote, meaning that members were not required to vote along party lines.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 in order to transfer the responsibility for regulatory approval of RU486 from the Minister for Health and Ageing to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This will make it possible to evaluate, register, list or import abortifacients such as RU486 (i.e. medicines intended to induce an abortion) for use in Australia without the approval of the Minister.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (342 KB). More information, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)

Yes No Not passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly against" 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 1 0 50
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 70

*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 = 0 / 70 = 0.0%.

And then