How Peter Costello 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 Peter Costello Supporters vote Division outcome

4th Jun 2009, 11:32 AM – Representatives Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 - Consideration in Detail - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the question be now put", which was introduced by Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Greg Combet. The question referred to was "That the bill, as amended, be agreed to", which was subsequently put.(See that division here. )

This is a procedural motion and is known as a "closure" or "gag" as it ends debate on a particular question by requiring it to be asked.(Read more about these types of motions here. )

Background to the bill

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 was introduced as part of a package of six bills to introduce the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.(Read more about the scheme on Wikipedia. ) This is an emission trading scheme designed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in an effort to address climate change. The scheme gives effect to Australia's obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

The design of the scheme has been criticised by the business community for threatening jobs and by environmentalists for not going far enough with its emission reduction targets.(Read more about these criticisms here.)

The six bills that were introduced as a package are called:

References

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

23rd Sep 2008, 6:05 PM – Representatives Motions - Urgent Relief for Single Age Pensioners Bill 2008 - Consideration of Senate Message

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absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

29th May 2008, 1:30 PM – Representatives Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill 2008 - Second Reading - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the question be now put." The motion was introduced by Labor MP Anthony Albanese. The question was whether to read the bill for a second time,(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through before becoming law here. ) which was subsequently put.(See that division here. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to increase the Medicare levy surcharge threshold to $100,000 for individuals and to $150,000 for families.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (73.8 KB).)

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

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 "voted moderately 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 3 75 150
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: 75 250

*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 = 75 / 250 = 30%.

And then