How John Williams voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should target family payments to low and moderate income households, to the exclusion of higher income households.

Division John Williams Supporters vote Division outcome

22nd Mar 2017, 12:04 AM – Senate Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted to pass the bill in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon they voted to read the bill for a third time.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where our Members of Parliament (MPs) will decide if they also agree with the bill and want it to become law.

What is the bill?

The purpose of this bill is to make savings for the government in the social services sector (social welfare etc).

According to the bill's homepage, it was introduced to:

  • pause for three years the indexation of various income thresholds that apply to certain social security benefits and allowances and the income test free area for parenting payment single
  • extend the ordinary waiting period to youth allowance (other) and parenting payment
  • include additional evidentiary requirements for the ‘severe financial hardship’ exemption from the ordinary waiting period
  • remove the ability for claimants to serve the ordinary waiting period concurrently with other waiting periods
  • enable automation of the regular income stream review process; and
  • maintain the standard family tax benefit (FTB) child rates for two years, from 1 July 2017, in the maximum and base rate of FTB Part A and the maximum rate of FTB Part B.
Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

4th Dec 2014, 10:42 AM – Senate Family Tax Benefit (Tighter Income Test) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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Almost every senator was against the main idea of the bill (in parliamentary jargon, they voted against reading the bill a second time). This means that the bill has been rejected and won't be discussed any more.

Only Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm, who had introduced the bill, voted in favour of it.

Main idea of the bill

The bill was introduced to reduce the Family Tax Benefit Part A payments by 20% of any income in excess of the ‘income free area’ until the payment reaches zero.

Currently, the reduction is capped at a particular base rate so families whose income is more than the 'income free area' but less than the 'higher income free area' all receive at least that base rate. As Senator Leyonhjelm explained, this means that "[t]he welfare payment for a family with one child remains at $2,204.60 whether their income is around $70,000 or $90,000".

Why is only one senator voting 'aye'?

Usually, at least two senators need to call for a division in order for a division to occur. In this case, the Acting Deputy President had thought that there were two senators voting 'aye' and only realised his mistake after the division was called.

Background to the bill

The 2014-15 Budget was designed to reduce government spending and start bringing the budget back to surplus. However, many of the measures proposed in the Budget have been very unpopular and have not passed through Parliament.

This bill is an attempt by Senator Leyonhjelm to contribute towards reducing the current budget deficit.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

17th Nov 2014, 11:40 AM – Senate Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 6) Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with the main idea of the bill

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The majority supported the main idea of the bill, which means the senators can now discuss the bill in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.

Main idea of the bill

The bill introduces the Social Services Portfolio budget measures that Labor has expressed support for (and so therefore have a chance of being passed).

What are the budget measures in this bill?

The bills digest describes the measures in detail. Most of the changes related to either ending indexation of certain allowances and supplements or limiting the overseas portability periods for certain payments and pensions.

Background to the bill

The measures in this bill were originally included in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 and the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014. These bills didn't get beyond the second reading stage in the Senate so the Government decided to split the measures into four bills (see ABC's The World Today), including this one.

Yes Yes Passed by a modest majority

2nd Sep 2014, 2:17 PM – Senate Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014 — 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.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the bill, as amended, is passed in the Senate. It will now be returned to the House of Representatives so that they can consider the Senate's amendments.

Background to the bill

This bill was introduced following the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013 (No. 2) being laid aside because it could not "be progressed in its current form".(Read more about this bill being set aside here. The division which resulted in that bill being laid aside is available here. )

This bill repeals the Minerals Resource Rent Tax as well as related measures such as the low income superannuation contribution, the income support bonus and the schoolkids bonus. The bill also revises the capital allowances for small business entities and the superannuation guarantee charge percentage increase.(Read more about the changes made in the bill in the explanatory memorandum. ) Under the previous Labor government, the superannuation was set to increase to 12 per cent by 2019 (as of 1 July 2014, it is at 9.5 per cent).(Read more about superannuation in Australia here.) However, this bill will push that rise up until 1 July 2025.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

2nd Sep 2014, 1:51 PM – Senate Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014 — Reference to Committee — Adjustments to the changes made by the bill

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The majority voted in favour of government amendments, which means that they were successful. The amendments make the following changes. They:

  • "further adjust the proposed amended timetable for increasing the superannuation guarantee (SG) charge percentage to 12 per cent by pausing the SG rate at 9.5 per cent for financial years up to and including 2020-21. The SG charge percentage will then increase by half a percentage point each year, until it reaches 12 per cent for years starting on or after 1 July 2025;
  • change the repeal date for the low income superannuation contribution (LISC) so that it applies to concessional contributions made for the 2017-18 financial year and later financial years;
  • change the repeal date for the income support bonus (ISB) to 31 December 2016 and make minor technical and consequential amendments as a result of the delayed repeal; and
  • change the repeal date of the schoolkids bonus (SKB) to 31 December 2016, and apply an income test for payments of the bonus between Royal Assent of the Bill and the new repeal date."(Read more about these amendments here.)

Background to the bill

This bill was introduced following the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013 (No. 2) being laid aside because it could not "be progressed in its current form".(Read more about this bill being set aside here. The division which resulted in that bill being laid aside is available here. )

This bill repeals the Minerals Resource Rent Tax as well as related measures such as the low income superannuation contribution, the income support bonus and the schoolkids bonus. The bill also revises the capital allowances for small business entities and the superannuation guarantee charge percentage increase.(Read more about the changes made in the bill in the explanatory memorandum. ) Under the previous Labor government, the superannuation was set to increase to 12 per cent by 2019 (as of 1 July 2014, it is at 9.5 per cent).(Read more about superannuation in Australia here.) However, this bill will push that rise up until 1 July 2025.

Yes Yes Passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 4 40 40
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 65 90

*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 = 65 / 90 = 72%.

And then