How Joe Ludwig voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should change the laws governing Senate elections to allow voters more direct control over the flow of preferences, whether they vote above or below the line

Division Joe Ludwig Supporters vote Division outcome

17th Mar 2016, 5:21 PM – Senate Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.

The Senate can now discuss the bill in more detail.

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

[This bill] constitutes the first response of the Government to the reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from its inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election, particularly in regards to the recommendations to change the Senate voting system. The recommended changes to the Senate electoral system by the Committee followed the election of senators on the basis of very small primary votes, and a perception that the group voting ticket system was being manipulated by some parties to direct preferences in a way that was not consistent with voter expectations.

The bill has three parts:

  • First, it gets rid of group voting tickets and requires citizens voting 'above the line' to allocate at least six preferences so that their vote will only be counted against the candidates they preferenced and won't go to other parties that they didn't vote for at all (note that that the bill has a savings provision "that allow voters who allocate at least one vote above the line to have their ballot paper count as formal and the preferences counted")

  • Second, it prohibits an individual from being the registered officer of more than one political party at once

  • Third, it lets parties to submit a party logo to the AEC to be added to their party registration to be printed on the ballot papers in black and white.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

17th Mar 2016, 1:30 PM – Senate Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read it for a third time.

It will now be sent back to House of Represenatives so they can decide whether or not they agree with the Senate's amendments.

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

[This bill] constitutes the first response of the Government to the reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from its inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election, particularly in regards to the recommendations to change the Senate voting system. The recommended changes to the Senate electoral system by the Committee followed the election of senators on the basis of very small primary votes, and a perception that the group voting ticket system was being manipulated by some parties to direct preferences in a way that was not consistent with voter expectations.

The bill has three parts:

  • First, it gets rid of group voting tickets and requires citizens voting 'above the line' to allocate at least six preferences so that their vote will only be counted against the candidates they preferenced and won't go to other parties that they didn't vote for at all (note that that the bill has a savings provision "that allow voters who allocate at least one vote above the line to have their ballot paper count as formal and the preferences counted")

  • Second, it prohibits an individual from being the registered officer of more than one political party at once

  • Third, it lets parties to submit a party logo to the AEC to be added to their party registration to be printed on the ballot papers in black and white.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

17th Mar 2016, 12:58 PM – Senate Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 - in Committee - Agree to the bill

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The majority voted to agree with the bill as amended. The Senate will now stop discussing it in detail and decide whether to pass it (known as giving the bill a third reading).

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

[This bill] constitutes the first response of the Government to the reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from its inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election, particularly in regards to the recommendations to change the Senate voting system. The recommended changes to the Senate electoral system by the Committee followed the election of senators on the basis of very small primary votes, and a perception that the group voting ticket system was being manipulated by some parties to direct preferences in a way that was not consistent with voter expectations.

The bill has three parts:

  • First, it gets rid of group voting tickets and requires citizens voting 'above the line' to allocate at least six preferences so that their vote will only be counted against the candidates they preferenced and won't go to other parties that they didn't vote for at all (note that that the bill has a savings provision "that allow voters who allocate at least one vote above the line to have their ballot paper count as formal and the preferences counted")

  • Second, it prohibits an individual from being the registered officer of more than one political party at once

  • Third, it lets parties to submit a party logo to the AEC to be added to their party registration to be printed on the ballot papers in black and white.

Read more in the bills digest.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

2nd Mar 2016, 11:45 AM – Senate Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 - First Reading - Read for the first time

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The majority voted in favour of reading the bill for a first time. In other words, the majority were in favour of formerly introducing the bill in to the Senate.

According to Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice:

the first reading is normally passed without opposition and is regarded as a purely formal stage

So, the fact that the Senate divided to vote on this motion (rather than voting 'on the voices', like normal) shows that this bill was rather controversial.

What does this bill do?

The bills digest explains that:

[This bill] constitutes the first response of the Government to the reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from its inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election, particularly in regards to the recommendations to change the Senate voting system. The recommended changes to the Senate electoral system by the Committee followed the election of senators on the basis of very small primary votes, and a perception that the group voting ticket system was being manipulated by some parties to direct preferences in a way that was not consistent with voter expectations.

The bill has three parts:

  • First, it gets rid of group voting tickets and requires citizens voting 'above the line' to allocate at least six preferences so that their vote will only be counted against the candidates they preferenced and won't go to other parties that they didn't vote for at all (note that that the bill has a savings provision "that allow voters who allocate at least one vote above the line to have their ballot paper count as formal and the preferences counted")

  • Second, it prohibits an individual from being the registered officer of more than one political party at once

  • Third, it lets parties to submit a party logo to the AEC to be added to their party registration to be printed on the ballot papers in black and white.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small 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 1 0 50
MP absent 3 75 150
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* 0 0 0
Total: 75 200

*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 = 75 / 200 = 38%.

And then