How Michael Forshaw voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase funding for public transport within and between Australia's major urban centres and prioritise it over funding for private transport infrastructure projects

Division Michael Forshaw Supporters vote Division outcome

12th May 2010, 4:09 PM – Senate Motions - High Speed Rail Network - Feasibility study

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Bob Brown (Tas), which means it was unsuccessful.


That the Senate calls on the Government to commission a feasibility study into the staged construction of a high speed rail network on the east coast of Australia, which could deliver accessible fast, reliable, ecologically-sustainable long-distance transport.


Only 46% of the Senate was present for this vote, meaning less than half of all Senators voted on this motion.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

18th Sep 2007, 3:53 PM – Senate Motions - Public Transport - Fund public transport

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison (Vic), which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that the Metropolitan Transport Forum, comprising of 19 Melbourne municipal councils and 17 associated organisations and members, at a forum at the Melbourne Town Hall on 30 August 2007, has called on the Government to contribute to funding public transport services throughout Australia to meet the needs of public transport users for the following reasons:

(i) public transport contributes to the economic performance and liveability of cities and reduces car dependence and the costs of road congestion, estimated to be $10 billion nationally in 2005 and $20 billion by 2020,

(ii) one suburban train can remove 5 kilometres of cars from congested roads,

(iii) public transport enables Australia to respond to rising fuel prices and environmental sustainability,

(iv) petrol will continue to increase beyond $US70 per barrel with increasing world demand for oil, and only one barrel of oil being discovered for nine barrels being produced,

(v) public transport assists in access to jobs, education and services for people who cannot afford a car or who are unable to drive, including students, the poor, people with disabilities and the elderly, and helps to reduce socio-economic problems, social isolation and inequity,

(vi) public transport helps reduce health costs by reducing the effect of accidents and pollution on the national health bill and hospitals,

(vii) in-built walking to and from transport nodes contributes to regular physical activity, essential in reducing risks of cardio-vascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression, bowel and other cancers,

(viii) by increasing demand – Melbourne’s public transport use increased by 20 per cent in the past 2 years, and

(ix) in an independent Melbourne survey, more than 4 out of 5 respondents (83 per cent) said that the issue of public transport infrastructure would be of importance when deciding who they would vote for in the next federal election; and

(b) urges the Government to reverse its policy of denying public transport any funding in its transport budget determinations.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

27th Nov 2006, 4:10 PM – Senate Motions - Newcastle City Council - Renewables and public transport

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Bob Brown, which means it was rejected.

Motion text

That the Senate supports the following resolution of Newcastle City Council:

Newcastle City Council recognises the urgent need to protect local and global environments from increasing greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce Newcastle’s role in that increase.

Therefore Newcastle City Council:

1. Recommends that the NSW Government establishes a cap on coal exports from Newcastle at existing levels.

2. Recommends that the NSW Government initiates an independent Inquiry into the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the current coal industry and proposed expansion of the Hunter Valley coal industry.

3. Recommends that pending such an Inquiry, the NSW Government initiates a moratorium on new coal mine approvals at Anvil Hill and elsewhere in NSW.

4. Calls on the NSW and Federal Governments to establish a mandatory renewable energy target of 25% by 2020, with 20% by 2014 as a first step, in keeping with targets set by the South Australian Government.

5. Calls on the NSW Government to establish a contribution of 10c/tonne on coal exports through the Port of Newcastle to fund a community trust to be administered through Hunter Councils, to support a transition to a clean energy economy in the Hunter and to invest in local renewable energy projects.

6. Calls on the NSW Government to build a more efficient public transport system in the Hunter, linking major regional cities defined in the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

10th Aug 2006, 9:40 AM – Senate Motions - Fuel Prices - Public transport & alternative fuels

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Christine Milne (Tas), which means it was rejected.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that the global price of oil is likely to continue to rise because of dwindling global supply, ongoing demand including from the rapidly growing economies of China and India, limited and inflexible refining capacity, interrupted supply because of climate change related storms and infrastructure damage in addition to geo-political factors;

(b) endorses the development of a national strategy to reduce Australia’s dependence on oil; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

(i) establish a Council of Australian Governments process to begin redesigning Australian cities with a view to investing in public transport to reduce car dependence,

(ii) introduce mandatory vehicle fuel efficiency standards for all new motor vehicles, and

(iii) invest in the development of alternative fuels.

No Yes Not passed by a large 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 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 26 72

*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 = 26 / 72 = 36%.

And then