How Belinda Neal 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 Belinda Neal Supporters vote Division outcome

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.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

How "voted consistently 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 10 10

*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 = 10 / 10 = 100%.

And then