How Malcolm Roberts voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should decrease funding for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)

Division Malcolm Roberts Supporters vote Division outcome

13th Sep 2017, 10:20 PM – Senate Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017, Commercial Broadcasting (Tax) Bill 2017 - Second Reading - Against non-statutory review

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The majority voted in favour of an amendment introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it was successful.

The amendment changes the second motion text - which is normally "That these bills be now read a second time" - by adding:

", but reaffirms that the Senate is a friend of the ABC, notes that the agreement to support the bill involves a non-statutory review which threatens iView, SBS on Demand and online news content, and is of the opinion that the bill should not proceed if the review is to occur".

This change doesn't have any legal affect; that is, it won't force the Government to do what it asks for. However, it does have political influence in that it represents the will of the Senate.

What does it mean to read the bills "a second time"?

There are several stages that a bill must pass through before becoming law. When the Senate is asked to read a bill for the "second time", it means that they are being asked whether they agree with the main idea of the bill. If this vote is successful, they'll then go on to discuss it in greater detail.

What do the bills do?

The two bills are the:

Most significantly, the bills were introduced to get rid of certain media ownership, control and diversity laws, like the ‘75% audience reach rule’, which stops commercial television broadcasting licensees from controlling licences if the combined licence area has a population over 75% of Australia' population. It would also get rid of the ‘2 out of 3 cross-media control rule’, which stops a company from having control over more than two out of three regulated media platforms in any one commercial radio licence area.

Read more in the bills digest.

No No Passed by a small majority

10th May 2017, 5:41 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Reduce funding

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The majority voted against a motion to reduce the ABC's funding, which means it wasn't successful.

The motion was introduced by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party Senator Brian Burston "on the basis that the ABC has failed to develop a strategic plan to provide at least 50 per cent local content, and to develop a policy of broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity".

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes the Platform Papers publication entitled, Missing in Action: the ABC and Australian Screen Culture, in which former ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) television director Mr Kim Dalton argues that the primary concern of the ABC is to protect its institutional status and structure;

(b) is of the opinion that the ABC should allocate at least 35 per cent of its annual funding to rural and regional areas of Australia where Australian content can be developed consistent with the ABC Charter; and

(c) calls on the Government to make a reduction to ABC funding of $600 million over the forward estimates of $150 million per year commencing at the end of the 2017-18 financial year on the basis that the ABC has failed to develop a strategic plan to provide at least 50 per cent local content, and to develop a policy of broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity.

Yes Yes Not passed by a large majority

29th Nov 2016, 4:03 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Opposes cuts

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own, but they're politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) opposes recent cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that have resulted in:

(i) the loss of almost 500 Australian jobs,

(ii) the closure of all 50 ABC retail outlets around Australia,

(iii) a substantial reduction in Australian made children's content,

(iv) a substantive reduction in local regional content, and

(v) a reduction in government funding totalling 29.2 per cent over 30 years;

(b) opposes the severe cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation outlined in the 2016 Budget paper totalling almost $50 million over the forward estimates; and

(c) supports the ongoing strengthening of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a bold, vital and well-funded national broadcaster with strong local and regional content for all Australians.

No No Passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly for" 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 4 40 40
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 40 40

*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 = 40 / 40 = 100%.

And then