How Andrew Robb voted compared to someone who believes that local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution

Division Andrew Robb Supporters vote Division outcome

5th Jun 2013, 7:04 PM – Representatives Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority supported passing the bill in the House of Representatives (in parliamentary jargon, they supported reading the bill for a third time). It will now be sent to the Senate for them to consider.

The main idea of the bill is to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution but it can't do this on its own. To amend the Constitution, there must be a successful referendum (as required by Section 128).

Rebellious Liberals

Liberal MPs Alex Hawke and Dennis Jensen crossed the floor to vote against the bill.

Unlike Labor Party members, Liberal members are allowed to rebel. However, it is increasingly uncommon.

What does recognising local governments mean?

Recognising local governments in the Constitution would mean that the federal government could directly fund local governments instead of having to fund them through state governments.

For an academic discussion of the effects of recognition, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB).

Background to the bill

This is the third time that the federal government has tried to change the Constitution to recognise local governments. The first time was in 1974 and the second time was in 1988.

See the bills digest (775 KB) for more background information.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a large 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 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 50 50

*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 = 50 / 50 = 100%.

And then