How Bob Katter 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 Bob Katter Supporters vote Division outcome

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 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 1 0 50
MP absent 1 25 50
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: 26 112

*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 = 26 / 112 = 23%.

And then