How Nigel Scullion voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase transparency requirements for political parties (for example, requiring full and prompt disclosure of any political donations on easy-to-search public websites)

Division Nigel Scullion Supporters vote Division outcome

12th Nov 2018, 3:49 PM – Senate Motions - Political Donations - Increase disclosure requirements

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters (QLD), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but can be politically influential as they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) disclosure of donations made to political parties is only made public by the Australian Electoral Commission once a year, on 1 February, for the preceding financial year,

(ii) there is up to an 18 month delay between when a donation is made and when it is publicly disclosed, and at minimum a 7 month delay,

(iii) since 2012, the major parties have received approximately $100 million in donations from corporate entities,

(iv) the voters in the electorates of Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth will have to wait until 1 February 2020, some 18 months after the by-election date, before they know who funded those campaigns,

(v) the voters in the electorate of Wentworth will have to wait almost 16 months before they know who funded political parties' by-election campaigns, and

(vi) under current legislation for federal elections, voters go to the ballot box without any information about how their local candidates and political parties have funded their campaigns – the identity of donors or amounts donated; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to require all donations of $1000 and above to be disclosed in close to real-time on an easy-to-search public website, to ensure voters have access to information about who is bank-rolling political campaigns before they vote.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

16th Aug 2018, 12:06 PM – Senate Motions - Donations to Political Parties - Disclosure

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale (Vic), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes:

(i) the growing prominence of business events that enable direct and private access to senior members of Parliament, such as the Australian Labor Party's Business Observer Summit, the Liberal Party's Millennium Forum and The National's National Policy Forum, and

(ii) the failure of Australia's political donation laws to require the disclosure of payments for these events because there is contractual consideration, they are therefore not classified as a 'gift' under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 that would mandate public disclosure;

(b) acknowledges that political donations enable access and influence policy decisions made by political parties and that these events are shrouded in secrecy; and

(c) resolves that, in the interest of good government, political parties should voluntarily disclose the attendees of these events and the amount of money provided by these businesses to political parties during these events.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

3rd Dec 2013 – Senate Motions - Political Donations - Disclosure and ban on overseas donations

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was unsuccessful.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) political donations for the 2013 federal election made on or after 1 July 2013 will not be made public until 1 February 2015,

(ii) political donations under $12 400 do not have to be disclosed by parties or candidates to the Australian Electoral Commission, and

(iii) this higher disclosure threshold level means the public is not aware of the details of a large number of political donations received by political parties; and

(b) calls for:

(i) a donation disclosure threshold of $1 000,

(ii) a ban on overseas donations,

(iii) a $50 cap on anonymous donations,

(iv) donations to different branches of a political party to be accumulated and treated as donations to the same party in order to stop political parties minimising their disclosure obligations by donation splitting,

(v) 6-monthly disclosure of donations and political expenditure, and

(vi) online disclosure of donations over $1 000 in the 3 months prior to an election or from when the election is called.

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

11th Mar 2009, 12:19 PM – Senate Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2008 [2009] - Second Reading - Agree to the bill's main idea

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The same number of senators voted for and against the main idea of the bill, which means that the vote failed and that the bill won't be considered any further.

In parliamentary jargon, the bill won't be read a second time.

Main idea of the bill

The bill amends the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in relation to political donations. For example, it proposed to reduce the donations disclosure threshold from $10 900 to $1000 and to ban foreign and anonymous donations to registered political parties. Read more about the proposed amendments in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed

8th Feb 2007, 10:37 AM – Senate Motions - Government Accountability and Transparency - Canadian bill

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Murray (WA), which means it was unsuccessful.

What was the motion?

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that the Canadian Government has delivered on its commitment to make government more accountable through the Federal Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent on 12 December 2006,

(ii) that through this Act and the associated Action Plan, specific measures will be introduced to help strengthen accountability and increase transparency and oversight in government operations, and

(iii) that the Canadian bill addresses issues which include:

(a) Transparency of donations;

(b) Truth in budgeting;

(c) Protection of whistleblowers;

(d) Strengthening the role of the Auditor-General and the role of the Ethics Commissioner; and

(e) Restrictions on Ministers, ministerial staffers and senior public servants engaging in lobbying after leaving office.

(b) and calls on the Australian Government to consider whether the existing legislative framework in Australia adequately addresses these issues in the interests of Australian democracy.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly 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 1 0 50
MP absent 0 0 0
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* 2 2 4
Total: 2 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 = 2 / 74 = 2.7%.

And then