How Susan McDonald voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase funding for university education

Division Susan McDonald Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Oct 2020, 5:41 PM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the Senate. In other words, they voted to read the bill for a third time. Because new amendments were agreed to in the Senate, the bill needs to return to the House of Representatives for a final time before it can become law.

What does the bill do?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

absent No (strong) Passed by a small majority

8th Oct 2020, 1:09 PM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Agree to remaining stages

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the remaining stages of this bill, subject to a request. In other words, the senators voted that they agreed to the bill as amended. If the House of Representatives agrees with the request - that is, the Senate amendments - then the bill will return to the Senate for a final vote before becoming law.

What does the bill do?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

absent No (strong) Passed by a small majority

8th Oct 2020, 11:49 AM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a second reading. This means they can now discuss it in more detail.

What is the main idea of the bill?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

absent No (strong) Passed by a small majority

17th Oct 2019, 11:31 AM – Senate Emergency Response Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 - in Committee - The Education Investment Fund

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that schedule 2 of the Emergency Response Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 stand as printed. In other words, they wanted to keep that schedule unchanged.

What is Schedule 2?

Schedule 2 abolishes the Education Investment Fund ("EIF"). According to the bills digest:

The EIF was established on 1 January 2009 by section 131 of the Nation-building Funds Act 2008 (NBF Act), to provide dedicated ongoing capital funding for tertiary education and research infrastructure, including for universities, vocational education and training providers and other non-university organisations.

The EIF was intended to provide a large-scale funding source for transformational projects which would allow Australian research and tertiary education institutions to compete effectively with international counterparts.

Unlike many other tertiary education infrastructure funding programs, the EIF was not limited to supporting research infrastructure, but instead funded a wide range of investments, including learning and teaching spaces.

Yes No (strong) 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 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