How Bob Katter voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should hold a plebiscite (or national vote) on the question of whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry

Division Bob Katter Supporters vote Division outcome

20th Oct 2016, 1:26 PM – Representatives Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted to pass the bill through the House of Representatives, which means it will now be sent to the Senate for our Senators to decide whether they agree that it should become law.

In parliamentary jargon, our Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to give the bill a third reading.

What does this bill do?

The purpose of this bill is to make it possible for the government to hold a national plebiscite to ask Australians "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

What is a national plebiscite?

The bills digest explains that:

a national plebiscite is a vote by citizens on any subject of national significance but which does not affect the Constitution. Plebiscites are normally advisory and do not compel a government to act on the outcome. There have only been three national plebiscites—two on conscription during World War I (both defeated) and one on the choice of a National Song in 1977.

Why don't some supporters of marriage equality support this bill?

Several parties and independents oppose this bill for two main reasons: cost and concern that a plebiscite could harm members of the LGBTI community.

So, what next?

The bill will be sent to the Senate. However, since the Labor Party has agreed to vote against it alongside the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch, it will not pass and so will not become law.

ABC News gives a neat summary of the situation and what may happen next.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

20th Oct 2016, 1:17 PM – Representatives Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a second reading.

The House will now discuss the bill in more detail before deciding whether to pass it or not.

What is the bill's main idea?

The purpose of this bill is to make it possible for the government to hold a national plebiscite to ask Australians "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

What is a national plebiscite?

The bills digest explains that:

a national plebiscite is a vote by citizens on any subject of national significance but which does not affect the Constitution. Plebiscites are normally advisory and do not compel a government to act on the outcome. There have only been three national plebiscites—two on conscription during World War I (both defeated) and one on the choice of a National Song in 1977.

Why don't some supporters of marriage equality support this bill?

Several parties and independents oppose this bill for two main reasons: cost and concern that a plebiscite could harm members of the LGBTI community.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

20th Oct 2016, 1:10 PM – Representatives Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Free vote in Parliament

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, which means it was unsuccessful.

What was the amendment?

The House was being asked to vote on the bill's main idea (that is, they were voting on whether to give the bill a second reading). The main idea of the bill is to make it possible for the government to hold a national plebiscite to ask Australians "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

Shorten's amendment would have changed that question of whether to agree to the bill's main idea so that the House would instead be asked whether they agreed that

this bill be withdrawn and redrafted to legislate for marriage equality and that the House calls on the Government to afford all members of parliament a free vote

What does this amendment mean?

Shorten was against holding a same sex marriage plebiscite and instead wanted to have a free vote in the House on the question of whether to allow same sex marriage.

What is a free vote?

The Parliamentary Education Office explains that a free vote (or conscience vote):

means that members of parliament are not obliged to vote with their party; instead, they can vote according to their own beliefs ... Each parliamentary party decides if its members are allowed a conscience vote on a particular issue.

A conscience vote may be held in order to prevent members of parliament crossing the floor [or 'rebelling'] on a controversial issue which may otherwise cause embarrassment to the team, or to allow members of parliament to express their own strongly-held beliefs.

What is a national plebiscite?

The bills digest explains that:

a national plebiscite is a vote by citizens on any subject of national significance but which does not affect the Constitution. Plebiscites are normally advisory and do not compel a government to act on the outcome. There have only been three national plebiscites—two on conscription during World War I (both defeated) and one on the choice of a National Song in 1977.

Why don't some supporters of marriage equality support this bill?

Several parties and independents oppose this bill for two main reasons: cost and concern that a plebiscite could harm members of the LGBTI community.

absent No Not passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Bob Katter was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.