How Matt Thistlethwaite voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should amend freedom of information (FOI) legislation to increase public access to government data and documents

Division Matt Thistlethwaite Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Jun 2013, 7:53 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 — Third Reading — Read a third time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a third time. This means that the bill is now passed in the Senate. Because it has already passed in the House of Representatives, it will now the sent to the Governor General to become law.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

absent No Passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:46 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 - In Committee - Report individial expenditure

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Senator Rhiannon explained that this amendment "creates an obligation that all senators and members be required to provide a link on their official parliamentary website to their individual expenditure reports on the Finance website".(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here, after 7:40 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:34 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 - In Committee - Freedom of information for administrative matters

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

This amendment limits Freedom of Information ('FOI') applications to documents of an administrative matter only, which is a much reduced form of FOI.(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here, after 7:30 pm. ) It was introduced after Senator Rhiannon's previous amendment was rejected.(See the division on the previous amendment here. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

18th Jun 2013, 7:28 PM – Senate Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013 — In Committee — Freedom of certain information

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Senator Rhiannon explained that:

This amendment defines the FOI applications that can be made in relation to parliamentary departments and office holders. The amendment is that information relating to the parliamentary departments, office holders' use of public resources and departmental administrative functions should be subject to FOI, while information relating to parliamentary proceedings, matters of political strategy or an MP's activities-for example, when dealing with constituents-are not.(Read Senator Rhiannon's full explanation and the associated debate here, after 7:17 pm. )

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to restore the exclusion for the parliamentary departments and office holders from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. ) This affects three parliamentary departments: the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services.(More information about the background to the bill can be found in its bills digest.)

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
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* 3 3 6
Total: 3 16

*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 = 3 / 16 = 19%.

And then