How Susan McDonald voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase the protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage sites

Division Susan McDonald Supporters vote Division outcome

7th Oct 2020, 5:25 PM – Senate Motions - Mining - Rio Tinto

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) mining giant Rio Tinto has been lobbying the Morrison Government to transfer environmental approval powers to the Western Australian Government since at least August 2019, freedom of information documents reveal,

(ii) Rio Tinto is responsible for the devastating destruction of 46,000-year-old sacred site Juukan Gorge.

(iii) the Government has proposed amendments to Australia's environment laws before the completion of a 10-year review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act, that will devolve environmental approval powers to the states as Rio Tinto has urged, and

(iv) the Government's EPBC amendment bill will make it easier for Rio Tinto to blow up cultural heritage sites and for mining companies to get approval for projects that damage the environment under weaker state laws; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) stop doing the bidding of fossil fuel companies like Rio Tinto; and

(ii) put environmental and cultural heritage protection ahead of corporate profits of mining companies.

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

11th Jun 2020, 4:16 PM – Senate Motions - Juukan Gorge - Protect First Nations heritage

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by West Australian Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens), which means it failed. Read the statements made by Liberal and Labor senators about why they voted against this motion.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) on May 15 2020 the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples, the traditional owners of the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia's Pilbara, put in a request to Rio Tinto to access the site of two 46,000-year-old rock shelters and were advised that the site was laden with explosives and about to be destroyed to make way for a major expansion of an iron ore mine, and

(ii) following this news, the Traditional Owners requested that Rio Tinto not go ahead due to the cultural significance of the Gorge; they phoned the WA government and then appealed to the Federal Government but, on May 24, the site was destroyed;

(b) recognises that archaeological studies show that Juukan Gorge is one of the earliest occupied locations in Australia and that this is an irreplaceable loss of culture,

(c) acknowledges that Rio Tinto was aware of the significance of this site to the Traditional Owners having helped make a documentary about it years prior,

(d) further notes that:

(i) it is reported that FMG as part of its mining operations has plans to destroy other heritage sites in the Pilbara including a 60,000-year-old rock shelter, and

(ii) there have been 463 applications to impact West Australian Aboriginal heritage sites on mining leases under Section 18 of the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act in the past 10 years—none has been rejected,

(e) condemns the destruction of Juukan Gorge and the loss of irreplaceable First Nations heritage, and

(f) calls on:

(i) FMG, Rio Tinto, BHP and any other mining companies with proposals to destroy First Nations heritage and culture to immediately abandon those plans; and

(ii) Governments around Australia to act to ensure no further loss of First Nations heritage or culture.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

25th Feb 2020, 4:26 PM – Senate Motions - Gas Industry - Protect climate

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the impacts of opening up the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory would increase Australia's emissions by a staggering 6.6% and destroy any chance of Australia helping to contain global warming below 1 degrees;

(b) acknowledges that the Liberal, National and Labor parties are supporting this destructive project because the proponents, Origin Energy and Santos have donated at least $1 million to both political parties, with at least $900,218 going to the Coalition and at least $810,353 to the Labor Party since 2012; and

(c) supports the farmers and traditional owners that do not want their water supplies threatened, their cultural heritage compromised, and the climate sacrificed if the 1,200 fracking wells planned for the Northern Territory proceed.

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 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 1 22

*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 = 1 / 22 = 4.5%.

And then