How Helen Coonan voted compared to someone who believes that local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution

Division Helen Coonan Supporters vote Division outcome

7th Sep 2006, 9:56 AM – Senate Motions - Local Government in Australia - Referendum

Show detail

The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Labor Senator Kim Carr.

It would have amended a motion introduced by Liberal Senator Chris Ellison by replacing the words:

(a) [That the Senate] recognises that local government is part of the governance of Australia, serving communities through locally-elected councils;

with the words:

(a) [That the Senate] supports a referendum to extend constitutional recognition to local government in recognition of the essential role it plays in the governance of Australia;


There are three tiers of government in Australia: federal, state and local. Currently, the Australian Constitution does not mention local governments. In 1988, a referendum was held to amend the Constitution so that it recognises local governments but it was unsuccessful.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted consistently 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* 0 0 0
Total: 0 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 = 0 / 10 = 0.0%.

And then