How Ewen Jones voted compared to someone who believes that university students should be able to choose whether or not to pay student services and amenities fees (also called student union fees)

Division Ewen Jones Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Nov 2010, 1:29 PM – Representatives Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill a second time.

This means that the majority of members agree with the main idea of the bill.

Someone who voted Aye supported the main idea of the bill, which was to allow universities to impose an annual capped compulsory student services and amenities fee. Since the majority voted Aye, the bill can now be discussed in greater detail. However, in this case, the members agreed to a motion to read the bill a third time without further division. This means that the bill was passed in the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.

Debate in Parliament

The bill was introduced by Labor Party MP Peter Garrett, the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth. He said that the bill “delivers on the government’s commitment to rebuild essential university student services and to also ensure that students have access to representation and advocacy on campus”.(Read MP Garrett's contribution here. )

Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker, speaking on behalf of the Coalition Opposition, opposed the bill. He said that making student union fees compulsory adds to the pressures facing regional students because the fee also applies to students who do not study on campus and so cannot access union services.(Read MP Hartsuyker's discussion here. ) He also argued that student unions and associations “will not be held accountable for how they choose to spend student money” because the fees are compulsorily acquired.

Background to the bill

Compulsory student union fees were abolished under then Prime Minister John Howard’s Coalition Government with the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Upfront Student Union Fees) Bill 2005. This meant that universities could no longer require students to pay a compulsory fee for facilities, amenities or services that were not of an academic nature.

The Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 is the third bill introduced by the Labor Government to re-introduce a compulsory student services and amenities fee since 2009. The first bill, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities, and other Measures) Bill 2009, was defeated in the Senate.(See that division here.) The second, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2009, lapsed at the end of the 42nd Parliament.

References

No No (strong) 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 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