How John Williams voted compared to someone who believes that The federal government should continue to fund the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) to fund chaplains in Australian primary and secondary schools

Division John Williams Supporters vote Division outcome

26th Jun 2014, 12:51 PM – Senate Motions - Youth Mental Health - Redirect chaplaincy funding to qualified mental health workers

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The majority disagreed with the Greens' motion that the government should redirect funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program from 2015 to qualified mental health workers.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the findings of the Youth Mental Health Report by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute, which states that 60 per cent of young people with a mental illness are not comfortable seeking information, advice or support from community agencies, online counselling or telephone hotlines, and

(ii) the judgement of the High Court in Williams v. Commonwealth of Australia (no. 2), which found the Commonwealth's National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program to be unconstitutional; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to bring legislation before the Parliament supporting access to professional mental health support in schools by redirecting funding allocated to the National School Chaplaincy Program from 2015 to qualified mental health workers.

No No (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

27th Jun 2012, 6:22 PM – Senate Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2012 - Second Reading - Replace chaplaincy with counselling

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The majority disagreed that the National School Chaplaincy Program should be replaced with a "program offering genuine counselling" (see the wording below).

Wording of the motion

The Greens wanted to add the following at the end of the motion "That the bill be read a second time":

but the Senate considers that the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program should be replaced with a program offering genuine counselling and other assistance to students by professionals with appropriate tertiary qualifications.

Main idea of the bill

The bill was introduced to make sure that the National School Chaplaincy Program could continue after the High Court's decision in Williams v Commonwealth [2012] HCA 23 (read the decision).

Background to the bill

Williams v Commonwealth was about an agreement between the Federal Government and the Scripture Union Queensland (SCU) which funded chaplaincy services in Queensland state schools (the National School Chaplaincy Program). A parent, Ronald Williams, argued that this agreement was invalid because the Executive branch of the Federal Government didn't have the power to enter it. Because Mr Williams was successful, the agreement was invalid.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent No Not passed by a modest majority

25th Nov 2009, 4:25 PM – Senate Motions - National School Chaplaincy Program - Continue program

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The majority agreed with Liberal Senator Guy Barnett's motion that the National School Chaplaincy Program should be continued.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the National School Chaplaincy Program (the program) was introduced by the former Coalition Government in the 2007-08 financial year with a commitment of $165 million for its first 3 years,

(ii) the program offers pastoral care, spiritual guidance and counselling in a range of areas such as bullying, mental health, family relationships and drug and alcohol abuse, operates in 2 700 schools and enjoys strong support among principals, schools and in the community generally,

(iii) the Coalition has announced that if elected, it will continue funding the program at present levels on an ongoing basis,

(iv) the Government has been forced to respond and has extended funding for the program, at a reduced level, for another year until the end of 2011, after which time there may be no more funding despite the program’s social benefits, sound administration and strong community support, and

(v) the Government’s announcement does not go far enough and does not allow for any new chaplains to be engaged and, as a result, does not provide certainty into the future for chaplains; and therefore

(b) calls on the Government to make a commitment to extend the program to new schools that apply for a chaplain and to maintain current levels of funding into the future on an ongoing basis.

Yes Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly 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 2 100 100
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 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 101 102

*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 = 101 / 102 = 99%.

And then