How Andrew Laming voted compared to someone who believes that the Federal Government should amend the Marriage Act 1961 so that same-sex couples can marry under Australian law

Division Andrew Laming Supporters vote Division outcome

19th Sep 2012, 12:26 PM – Representatives Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted against a motion to read the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 for a second time. This means that the majority of members reject the main idea of the bill, which was to recognise same-sex marriages.

This means that the bill will not considered any further.

Debate in Parliament

The bill was introduced by Labor Party MP Stephen Jones as a private member’s bill.

Jones MP said that he was guided by the fact that “a majority of Australians are in favour of the changes contained within this bill” as well as “the human right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sexuality”.(Read Jones MP's contribution here. ) He explained that in 2011 the Australian Labour Party changed its policy to allow its members to make a conscience vote on any legislation that legalised same-sex marriage, which is what occurred in this case.(Read Jones MP's explanation here. )

As the Labor Party called for a conscience vote on this issue, Labor members were split for and against the bill with the majority voting in favour.

Although the Liberal Party did not explicitly allow its members a conscience vote, the Liberal Party’s Luke Simpkins MP said that a conscience vote was “always” an option for Liberal members.(Read Simpkins MP's contribution here. ) However, the Liberal Party still uniformly voted against the bill.

Several members who opposed the bill argued that the current marriage law is not discriminatory. For example, the Liberal Party’s Stuart Robert MP referred to family law expert Professor Patrick Parkinson’s submission to the Senate inquiry into marriage equality that “functional equality has already been achieved” in Australian law for registered same-sex unions.(Read Robert MP's contribution here. )

Background to the Bill

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced into the House of Representatives on the same day as the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012, which was co-sponsored by the Greens Party MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie. There was also a similar bill being considered in the Senate, called the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, which had been introduced by Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Despite containing different language and writing styles, all three bills aimed to allow people to marry regardless of sex.(Read more about these three bills in the bills digest.)

References

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

18th Nov 2010, 10:27 AM – Representatives Motions - Same-Sex Marriage - Agree to motion

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This division is a vote about a motion rather than a bill. According to the House of Representatives Practice [923kb], a motion is “any proposal made for the purpose of eliciting a decision of the House”.

The members were voting on whether:

the motion ( Mr Bandt’s ), as amended, be agreed to.

The motion had been introduced by Greens Party MP Adam Bandt and amended by an amendment introduced by Labor Party MP Stephen Jones.

Someone who voted Aye supported the motion. Since the majority voted Aye, the motion was successful. This means that the House agreed with the motion and so it became an order of the House. An order can be described as a command of the House, though it has no legal effect outside of the House (see the House of Representatives Practice [923kb]).

Debate in Parliament

The original wording of the substantive motion introduced by Bandt MP was:

That this House:

(1) notes that there is:

(a) a growing list of countries that allow same-sex couples to marry including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Canada and South Africa; and

(b) widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community; and

(2) calls on all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Before introducing the motion, Bandt MP sought leave to amend it but leave was not granted. The wording Bandt MP wanted to use was the same as the wording proposed by Labor Party MP Stephen Jones in his amendment, which was:

That all the words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “this House calls on all parliamentarians, consistent with their duties as representatives, to gauge their constituents’ views on ways to achieve equal treatment for same sex couples including marriage”.

This is why Bandt MP joined Jones MP and the rest of the Labor Party in voting ‘Aye’ to the amendment (see the division here).

Background to the Motion

The substantive motion introduced by Bandt MP was part of the Greens Party’s campaign to change the law to recognise same-sex marriage. At the time it was introduced, the Senate was considering the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, which had been introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

18th Nov 2010, 10:20 AM – Representatives Motions - Same-Sex Marriage - Insert new words into the motion

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This division is a vote about a motion rather than a bill. According to the House of Representatives Practice [923kb], a motion is “any proposal made for the purpose of eliciting a decision of the House”.

The members were voting on whether:

the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted.

The words proposed to be inserted were from an amendment introduced by Labor Party MP Stephen Jones. The amendment was to a motion introduced by Greens Party MP Adam Bandt.

Someone who voted Aye wanted to replace the words in Bandt MP's motion with the words from the amendment. Since the majority voted Aye, the amendment was successful. The next step is to vote on whether to agree to the newly amended motion (see that division here).

Debate in Parliament

The original substantive motion introduced by Bandt MP was:

That this House:

(1) notes that there is:

(a) a growing list of countries that allow same-sex couples to marry including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Canada and South Africa; and

(b) widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community; and

(2) calls on all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Before introducing the motion, Bandt MP sought leave to amend his motion but leave was not granted. The wording Bandt MP wanted to use was the same as the wording proposed by Jones MP in his amendment, which was:

That all the words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “this House calls on all parliamentarians, consistent with their duties as representatives, to gauge their constituents’ views on ways to achieve equal treatment for same sex couples including marriage”.

This is why Bandt MP joined Jones MP and the rest of the Labor Party in voting ‘Aye’ in this division to amend the substantive motion.

Background to the Motion

The substantive motion introduced by Bandt MP was part of the Greens Party’s campaign to change the law to recognise same-sex marriage. At the time it was introduced, the Senate was considering the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, which had been introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

24th Sep 2008, 10:55 AM – Representatives Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — General Law Reform) Bill 2008 - Second Reading

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to keep the words "That this bill be now read a second time" unchanged. Liberal MP Sussan Ley had proposed to delete the words after "That" and replace them with:

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) nevertheless recognises that partners in same-sex relationships ought not to be discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality, and ought to be treated on a similar basis to partners in heterosexual de facto relationships;

(3) recognises the right of children who live in same-sex households not to be discriminated against; and

(4) notes that the Opposition has referred the bill to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for reporting by September 30 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) there is no unintended recognition of same sex marriage, including through amendments to the Migration Act 1961;

(c) the rights and status of children are properly protected; and

(d) the rights and status of people in interdependent relationships other than same-sex relationships are recognised and properly protected”.

MPs who voted "Aye" (Yes) disagreed with MP Ley's proposed new wording.

What does it mean to read a bill for a second time?

All bills have to be read three times: first to introduce the bill for discussion; second to decide if the majority agree with the main idea of the bill; and third to decide whether the majority will pass the bill or not so it can become law.

So a second reading vote is a vote on whether to agree with the main idea of the bill or not.

absent Yes 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 2 0 100
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 1 112

*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 = 1 / 112 = 0.89%.

And then