How Katy Gallagher voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should decrease funding for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)

Division Katy Gallagher Supporters vote Division outcome

9th May 2018, 7:02 PM – Senate Communications Legislation Amendment (Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund) Bill 2017 - Second Reading - Media diversity

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The majority voted against a motion that would have added certain words (see below) to the usual second reading motion that the bill be read for a second time (which means that the Senate agrees with the main idea of the bill).

Motion text

At the end of the motion, add:

", but the Senate:

(a) notes that the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund was agreed by the Turnbull Liberal Government as part of a back-room deal with the then Nick Xenophon team in exchange for support for the repeal of the 2 out of 3 cross-media control rule in 2017;

(b) notes that the Government's disastrous record on media diversity and public interest journalism includes:

(i) removal of a key media diversity safeguard which prevented even greater consolidation in Australia's already highly concentrated media sector with the repeal of the 2 out of 3 cross-media control rule;

(ii) budget cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars from the ABC and SBS, which are trusted sources of investigative journalism in Australia;

(iii) pushing community television off the broadcast platform to an online delivery model without an adequate transition period;

(iv) threatening journalists with criminal sanctions simply for doing their jobs under the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017;

(v) policy inaction in the face of the loss of more than 3000 journalism jobs in Australia over the past five years;

(c) notes that media diversity and support for public interest journalism are not mutually exclusive and that Australia needs both;

(d) calls on the Government to stop actively undermining media diversity and public interest journalism in Australia;

(e) calls on the Turnbull Government to drop its destructive attack on the ABC; and

(f) calls on the Government to support media diversity and public interest journalism in Australia.".

absent No Not passed by a small majority

26th Mar 2018, 8:39 PM – Senate Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017 - Second Reading - Reinstate SBS revenue shortfall

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion ("That this bill be read a second time").

Reading a bill for a second time is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add:

“, but the Senate is of the opinion that the Government must reinstate the SBS’s revenue shortfall of $9 million as included in the 2017-18 Budget.”

Main idea of the bill

The bill was introduced to:

  • enable the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make online content service provider rules which impose gambling promotions restrictions on online content service providers;
  • provide the ACMA with the power to determine program standards about gambling promotional content which apply to certain broadcasters and subscriptions providers; and
  • require the ACMA to monitor compliance with online content service provider rules.
absent No Not passed by a modest majority

13th Sep 2017, 10:20 PM – Senate Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017, Commercial Broadcasting (Tax) Bill 2017 - Second Reading - Against non-statutory review

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The majority voted in favour of an amendment introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it was successful.

The amendment changes the second motion text - which is normally "That these bills be now read a second time" - by adding:

", but reaffirms that the Senate is a friend of the ABC, notes that the agreement to support the bill involves a non-statutory review which threatens iView, SBS on Demand and online news content, and is of the opinion that the bill should not proceed if the review is to occur".

This change doesn't have any legal affect; that is, it won't force the Government to do what it asks for. However, it does have political influence in that it represents the will of the Senate.

What does it mean to read the bills "a second time"?

There are several stages that a bill must pass through before becoming law. When the Senate is asked to read a bill for the "second time", it means that they are being asked whether they agree with the main idea of the bill. If this vote is successful, they'll then go on to discuss it in greater detail.

What do the bills do?

The two bills are the:

Most significantly, the bills were introduced to get rid of certain media ownership, control and diversity laws, like the ‘75% audience reach rule’, which stops commercial television broadcasting licensees from controlling licences if the combined licence area has a population over 75% of Australia' population. It would also get rid of the ‘2 out of 3 cross-media control rule’, which stops a company from having control over more than two out of three regulated media platforms in any one commercial radio licence area.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes No Passed by a small majority

10th May 2017, 5:41 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Reduce funding

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The majority voted against a motion to reduce the ABC's funding, which means it wasn't successful.

The motion was introduced by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party Senator Brian Burston "on the basis that the ABC has failed to develop a strategic plan to provide at least 50 per cent local content, and to develop a policy of broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity".

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes the Platform Papers publication entitled, Missing in Action: the ABC and Australian Screen Culture, in which former ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) television director Mr Kim Dalton argues that the primary concern of the ABC is to protect its institutional status and structure;

(b) is of the opinion that the ABC should allocate at least 35 per cent of its annual funding to rural and regional areas of Australia where Australian content can be developed consistent with the ABC Charter; and

(c) calls on the Government to make a reduction to ABC funding of $600 million over the forward estimates of $150 million per year commencing at the end of the 2017-18 financial year on the basis that the ABC has failed to develop a strategic plan to provide at least 50 per cent local content, and to develop a policy of broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

29th Nov 2016, 4:03 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Opposes cuts

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but they're politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) opposes recent cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that have resulted in:

(i) the loss of almost 500 Australian jobs,

(ii) the closure of all 50 ABC retail outlets around Australia,

(iii) a substantial reduction in Australian made children's content,

(iv) a substantive reduction in local regional content, and

(v) a reduction in government funding totalling 29.2 per cent over 30 years;

(b) opposes the severe cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation outlined in the 2016 Budget paper totalling almost $50 million over the forward estimates; and

(c) supports the ongoing strengthening of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a bold, vital and well-funded national broadcaster with strong local and regional content for all Australians.

Yes No Passed by a small majority

24th Jun 2015, 12:20 PM – Senate Communications Legislation Amendment (Sbs Advertising Flexibility and Other Measures) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Agree to bill's main idea

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The majority rejected the bill's main idea, which means that the bill was unsuccessful and won't be discussed any further in Parliament. In parliamentary jargon, they voted against reading it for a second time.

Bill's main idea

The bill would give SBS more flexibility in terms of advertising by, for example, letting SBS air more advertising and sponsorship announcements in prime time viewing periods so long as it reduced advertising at other times in a 24 hour period.

According to the bills digest, the Government says that the changes would mean SBS would be less dependent on government funding. Though some public broadcaster advocates argue that increasing advertising like this may lead to less diversity on SBS as it puts the needs of advertisers before the needs of viewers.

Read more about what the bill does and the arguments for and against it in its bills digest.

No Yes Not 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 6 0 60
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 2 2 4
Total: 12 74

*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 = 12 / 74 = 16%.

And then