How Ron Boswell voted compared to someone who believes that local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution

Division Ron Boswell Supporters vote Division outcome

24th Jun 2013, 8:19 PM – Senate Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

Show detail

The majority supported passing the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they supported reading the bill for a third time). Since it has already passed in the House of Representatives, the bill will now become law.

The main idea of the bill is to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution but it can't do this on its own. To amend the Constitution, there must be a successful referendum (as required by Section 128).

Rebellious Coalition senators

Coalition senators were split on this question. Seven Liberal senators and three National Party senators voted 'yes' while six Liberal senators and 1 National Party senator voted 'no'.

Liberal and National Party members are allowed to rebel (unlike Labor Party members), but it is increasingly uncommon.

What does recognising local governments mean?

Recognising local governments in the Constitution would mean that the federal government could directly fund local governments instead of having to fund them through state governments.

For an academic discussion of the effects of recognition, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB).

Background to the bill

This is the third time that the federal government has tried to change the Constitution to recognise local governments. The first time was in 1974 and the second time was in 1988.

See the bills digest (775 KB) for more background information.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a large majority

24th Jun 2013, 8:11 PM – Senate Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

Show detail

The majority support the bill's main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they want to read it for a second time).

The main idea of the bill is to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution but it can't do this on its own. To amend the Constitution, there must be a successful referendum (as required by Section 128).

Rebellious Coalition senators

Coalition senators were split on this question. Seven Liberal senators and three National Party senators voted 'yes' while six Liberal senators and 1 National Party senator voted 'no'.

Liberal and National Party members are allowed to rebel (unlike Labor Party members), but it is increasingly uncommon.

What does recognising local governments mean?

Recognising local governments in the Constitution would mean that the federal government could directly fund local governments instead of having to fund them through state governments.

For an academic discussion of the effects of recognition, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB).

Background to the bill

This is the third time that the federal government has tried to change the Constitution to recognise local governments. The first time was in 1974 and the second time was in 1988.

See the bills digest (775 KB) for more background information.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a large majority

7th Sep 2006, 9:56 AM – Senate Motions - Local Government in Australia - Referendum

Show detail

The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Labor Senator Kim Carr.

It would have amended a motion introduced by Liberal Senator Chris Ellison by replacing the words:

(a) [That the Senate] recognises that local government is part of the governance of Australia, serving communities through locally-elected councils;

with the words:

(a) [That the Senate] supports a referendum to extend constitutional recognition to local government in recognition of the essential role it plays in the governance of Australia;

Background

There are three tiers of government in Australia: federal, state and local. Currently, the Australian Constitution does not mention local governments. In 1988, a referendum was held to amend the Constitution so that it recognises local governments but it was unsuccessful.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted a mixture of for and 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 2 50 100
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 50 110

*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 = 50 / 110 = 45%.

And then