How James McGrath voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation that increases the powers and influence of trade unions in workplace relations

Division James McGrath Supporters vote Division outcome

25th Feb 2020, 4:43 PM – Senate Motions - Workplace Relations - Greyhound Resources

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart (Labor), which means it was successful. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) pay and conditions in supply chains are often characterised by a race to the bottom in which companies at the top drive down rates through their economic power,

(ii) in the resource industry, mining companies such as BHP, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and BHP Mitsui Coal through their tenders for auxiliary work are the ultimate employer in the sector influencing the setting of pay and conditions across the sector,

(iii) workers at Greyhound Resources have in, good faith, engaged in negotiations with their employers for a new enterprise agreement,

(iv) workers at Greyhound Resources exercised their democratic right to take protected industrial action as part of the bargaining process,

(v) Greyhound Resources responded threatening to lock out any and all workers who took part in a legal industrial action, and

(vi) Greyhound Resources carried out this threat and is currently locking out those workers who took part in protected industrial action;

(b) calls on Australian mining companies to recognise their role as the ultimate employer in the sector and their influence on the rates and conditions across their industry; and

(c) supports the workers of Greyhound Resources who are currently locked out by their employer and calls for the end to the lockout so that negotiations can continue in good faith.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

18th Apr 2016, 6:23 PM – Senate Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No. 2] and one other - Second Reading - Agree with the bills' main idea

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The majority voted against a motion to agree with the bills' main idea, which means that the bills have been rejected by the Senate.

These bills have now been rejected by the Senate twice, which means that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can now request a double dissolution election (read more about this on ABC News).

What is a double dissolution election?

A double dissolution election is different from a normal election because both the House of Representatives and the Senate are dissolved and all senators are up for election. Usually only half of the senators are up for election.

Main idea of the bills

The purpose of the bills is to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which was dissolved by the Rudd Labor Government. Read more about the ABCC in the bills digest.

Yes No Not passed by a small majority

4th Sep 2014, 12:28 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Workforce - Insecure work

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (NSW), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that 40 per cent of the Australian workforce is employed in insecure work,

(ii) there is an increase in jobs that have irregular work hours and pay, inferior rights and entitlements and no job security compared to fulltime work,

(iii) the growth of insecure work is primarily driven by employers trying to increase profits by avoiding costs such as paid leave, workers' compensation, long service leave and superannuation, associated with fulltime work,

(iv) that although irregular working arrangements might suit some people, employees currently have little control over their working hours and arrangements, so 'flexibility' usually just means flexibility for the employer, and

(v) that unions play a key role in protecting workplace conditions of workers; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) help give people a better work-life balance by giving them more control over their working hours and arrangements, strengthening rights and minimum standards for contractors, and securing improvements to the bargaining system,

(ii) ensure all workers have access to fair working conditions, such as annual leave, paid sick leave, overtime, penalty rates and long service leave, and

(iii) recognise the role of unions in securing better minimum standards through awards and legislation.

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 3 0 30
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 30

*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 = 0 / 30 = 0.0%.

And then