How Amanda Stoker voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase their support of Australia's dairy industry by, for example, regulating increased milk prices

Division Amanda Stoker Supporters vote Division outcome

3rd Dec 2019, 4:28 PM – Senate Documents - Dairy Industry - Order for the Production of Documents

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The same number of senators voted for and against a motion standing in the name of WA Senator Glenn Sterle (Labor), which means it failed.

Motion text

(1) That the Senate notes the hardship and financial difficulty being faced by dairy farmers in many parts of the country.

(2) That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Agriculture, by no later than 11.45 am on 5 December 2019, a legislative instrument giving legal effect to a dairy code, and if the instrument has not been tabled prior to the appointed time, the Minister be called on to table the instrument before petitions are called on that day.

(3) That if the legislative instrument required by paragraph (2) is not tabled, the Senate requires the Minister for Agriculture to attend the Senate at 3.30 pm on Thursday, 5 December 2019 to provide an explanation, of no more than 20 minutes, of the Government's response to paragraph (2).

(4) That following the Minister's explanation, or in the event the Minister fails to provide an explanation, any senator may move to take note of the response required by paragraph (3).

(5) That any motion under paragraph (4) may be debated for no longer than 60 minutes, shall have precedence over all business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes.

absent Yes Not passed

11th Nov 2019, 1:40 PM – Senate Protecting Australian Dairy Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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

What was the main idea of the bill?

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

  • require the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to determine a base minimum price for milk for each dairy season;
  • require the minister to refer to the Productivity Commission for inquiry the effectiveness of determining a base price for milk and the potential effectiveness of a divestiture regime for the dairy industry; and
  • establish a mandatory industry code for the food and grocery industry, including the dairy industry.
absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

17th Oct 2019, 12:12 PM – Senate Committees - Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee - Reference

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The majority voted in favour of the motion introduced by Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation), which means it succeeded and the inquiry will take place.

Motion text

That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by the third sitting day in March 2020:

The performance of Australia's dairy industry and the profitability of Australian dairy farmers since deregulation in 2000, with particular reference to:

(a) the ability of Dairy Australia to act independently and support the best interests of both farmers and processors;

(b) the accuracy of statistical data collected by Dairy Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics;

(c) the funding of Dairy Australia and the extent of its consultation and engagement on the expenditure of levies revenue;

(d) the merits of tasking the ACCC to investigate how it can regulate the price of milk per litre paid by processors to dairy farmers to ensure a viable dairy industry;

(e) alternative approaches to supporting a viable dairy sector;

(f) the introduction of a mandatory industry code of practice; and

(g) any related matters.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

15th Oct 2019, 7:24 PM – Senate Matters of Urgency - Dairy Industry - Fair price

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation), which means it succeeded.

What is a matter of urgency?

According to the parliamentary website:

A vote on an urgency motion is technically a vote on whether the subject of the motion is a matter of urgency. The vote is often regarded, however, as a vote on the substantive matter. The motion may therefore be cast in terms that make it difficult for a party to vote one way or the other on the motion. Chapter 9 of Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice gives the following example:

…if the motion is to declare that the level of unemployment is a matter of urgency, a vote on the motion is regarded as a test of the Senate’s attitude to the level of unemployment. If the party supporting the ministry votes against the motion this may be regarded as an expression of indifference on unemployment, but if the party votes for the motion this may be regarded as a confession of ministerial failure.

If an urgency motion is agreed to, any senator may move, without notice under standing order 154, that the resolution be transmitted by message to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.

Motion text

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

"That Australia's dairy farmers are facing ruin and the government must take action to ensure they are paid a fair farm gate price for their milk."

No Yes Passed by a small majority

15th Oct 2019, 5:50 PM – Senate Motions - Dairy Industry - Support

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The same number of senators voted for and against a motion, which means it failed. It was introduced by Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation).

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2000, the dairy industry in Australia was deregulated, and since that time milk production has fallen from close to 12 billion litres a year to 8.8 billion litres a year, while the population has increased from 19 million to 25 million people,

(ii) milk production has fallen in every state in the past 12 months with the greatest decline in Queensland, followed by South Australia and New South Wales,

(iii) the number of dairy farms has declined in Queensland from around 1500 to about 380,

(iv) Queensland dairy herds are now in immediate danger through a failure of the winter and summer seasonal crops, and the shortage of quality feed means it is likely that whole herds will be sent to the slaughterhouse and families destroyed,

(v) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) dairy inquiry report was handed down in April 2018, and found that an increase in the fresh milk price in supermarkets would not benefit dairy farmers, only the processors,

(vi) none of the eight recommendations in the ACCC’s report have been implemented by the Federal Government, including the Mandatory Code of Practice which means that farmers are still being forced into unfair and unconscionable contracts going forward for the next five years,

(vii) there is an immediate need to deal with the imbalance in bargaining power between dairy farmers and processors by legislating to make unfair contracts and, in particular, multi-year contracts (which bind farmers but not processors) unlawful because dairy farmers do not have the means to pursue these unfair contracts through the courts, and

(viii) the power imbalance between farmers and processors directly impacts farmgate milk prices; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) provide immediate additional financial support to dairy farmers who cannot feed their herds,

(ii) implement all of the ACCC recommendations, and

(iii) task the ACCC to investigate how it can regulate the price of milk per litre paid by processors to dairy farmers to ensure a viable dairy industry.

No Yes Not passed

13th Sep 2018, 12:18 PM – Senate Motions - Dairy Industry - Introduce protections

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Pauline Hanson, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the dairy industry in Australia was de-regulated in 2000, and since that time milk production has fallen from 12 billion litres a year to 9.5 billion litres a year, while the population has increased from 19 million to 25 million people,

(ii) the number of dairy farms has declined in Queensland from around 1,500 to about 380,

(iii) Queensland dairy herds are now in immediate danger through a failure of the winter and summer seasonal crops, and the shortage of quality feed means it is likely that whole herds will be sent to the slaughterhouse and families destroyed,

(iv) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) dairy inquiry report was handed down in April 2018, and found that an increase in the fresh milk price in supermarkets would not benefit dairy farmers, only the processors,

(v) none of the eight recommendations in the ACCC's report have been implemented by the Federal Government,

(vi) there is an immediate need to deal with the imbalance in bargaining power between dairy farmers and processors by legislating to make unfair contracts and, in particular, multi-year contracts (which bind farmers but not processors) unlawful because dairy farmers do not have the means to pursue these unfair contracts through the courts, and

(vii) it is a myth that milk prices are set by market forces because farm-gate prices for milk are set by processors, that are often foreign-owned; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government:

(i) to provide immediate additional financial support to dairy farmers who cannot feed their herds,

(ii) to implement all of the ACCC recommendations, and

(iii) to regulate the price of milk per litre paid by processors to dairy farmers to ensure a viable dairy industry.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

14th Aug 2018, 3:53 PM – Senate Motions - Dairy Industry - Raise price of milk to help farmers

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by One Nation Senator Brian Burston (NSW), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) Coles is still advertising $1 per litre milk, and Woolworths $1 per litre milk is shown as temporarily unavailable,

(ii) both Coles and Woolworths have exerted downward prices on dairy farmers for many years which has damaged the financial resilience of Australian dairy farmers,

(iii) many dairy farms are family operations which involve long work hours,

(iv) as dairy farmers are obligated to lock in forward milk sale prices, these forward prices are effectively capped by the pressure exerted by Coles and Woolworths,

(v) these forward prices could not contemplate the drastic increase in the cost of hay, wheat and other feed products for the dairy cattle, and

(vi) what Australia grows, grows Australia; and

(b) calls on Coles and Woolworths to:

(i) increase the price of milk to their customers by 20 cents per litre for the full period of the impacts of drought on feed prices, and

(ii) pass the full price increase onto dairy farmers.

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 5 0 50
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 26 102

*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 = 26 / 102 = 25%.

And then