How Andrew McLachlan voted compared to someone who believes that the JobKeeper payment, which is part of the federal government's response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, should be made available to more workers, including casual workers, workers with major charities, working-visa holders who are still in the country, and workers in sectors such as Education, Disability and Local Government

Division Andrew McLachlan Supporters vote Division outcome

1st Sep 2020, 12:52 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 - in Committee - Childcare providers

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), which means they failed. The motions related to expanding support for childcare providers.

Amendment text

(4) Clause 2, page 2 (at the end of the table), add:

14. Schedule 9

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

(8) Page 33, at the end of the Bill, after proposed Schedule 8, add:

Schedule 9 — Extension of jobkeeper scheme to child care providers

Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020

1 In the appropriate position

Insert:

7C Requirements for rules that provide for jobkeeper payments scheme—payments to child care providers

(1) If the rules provide for a kind of payment that is intended to assist businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the cost of wages of their employees (whether known as a jobkeeper payment or otherwise), the rules relating to that kind of payment (the jobkeeper scheme rules) must comply with the requirements in subsection (2).

(2) The jobkeeper scheme rules must ensure that payments are able to be made to entities that are approved providers (within the meaning of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999) of one or more approved child care services (within the meaning of that Act), including in respect of:

(a) employees whose ordinary duties relate principally to the operation of one or more of those services; and

(b) individuals who are not employees but who are actively engaged in the business carried on by the approved provider.

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

1st Sep 2020, 12:45 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 - in Committee - University workers

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), which means they failed. The amendments related to extending JobKeeper payments to university workers.

Amendments text

(3) Clause 2, page 2 (at the end of the table), add:

(7) Page 33, at the end of the Bill, after proposed Schedule 6, add:

Schedule 8 — Extension of jobkeeper scheme to higher education providers

Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020

1 In the appropriate position

Insert:

7B Requirements for rules that provide for jobkeeper payments scheme—payments to higher education providers

(1) If the rules provide for a kind of payment that is intended to assist businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the cost of wages of their employees (whether known as a jobkeeper payment or otherwise), the rules relating to that kind of payment (the jobkeeper scheme rules) must comply with the requirements in subsection (2).

(2) The jobkeeper scheme rules, in providing for the classes of entities to which payments in respect of employees are to be made, must comply with the following requirements in respect of entities that are higher education providers:

(a) the rules must not have eligibility requirements:

(i) that apply only to higher education providers; or

(ii) that apply thresholds to higher education providers that are different from the thresholds applied to other similar entities; or

(iii) that are substantially different in their application to higher education providers compared with other entities;

with the effect of making it impractical or unlikely that higher education providers will be able to satisfy the eligibility requirements;

(b) the eligibility requirements must not have the effect, whether directly or indirectly, of excluding all or substantially all higher education providers from the jobkeeper scheme.

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

17th Jun 2020, 7:20 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 - Disallow higher education provisions

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The majority of senators voted against the question "that items 5 to 7 of schedule 1 of the rules be disallowed." This means the attempt to disallow the items - which would have stopped them from being law - failed and they will remain in effect.

What are items 5 to 7 of schedule 1?

5 Paragraph 8(7)(a)

Before “the”, insert “unless paragraph (aa) applies—”.

6 After paragraph 8(7)(a)

Insert:

(aa) if the entity is a Table A provider or a Table B provider—the turnover test period must be the period of 6 months starting on 1 January 2020; and

7 After paragraph 8(8)(e)

Insert:

(ea) for an entity that is a Table A provider or a Table B provider—subsection 9‑17(3) of the GST Act is to be disregarded in its application to a payment covered by an appropriation under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 or the Australian Research Council Act 2001;

These items exclude from JobKeeper many people who work for the higher education sector. NSW Senator Tony Sheldon (Labor), who introduced this disallowance motion, gave the following explanation:

The higher education sector, a sector that employs roughly 260,000, may, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, see some 21,000 workers unemployed. These workers include cleaners, security staff, caterers and administrators working across Australia's universities, and the academics, the many that teach so many important people across the economy ... These workers have done nothing wrong and yet the government has now on three occasions changed the regulations to make it impossible for universities to meet the thresholds for JobKeeper, depriving these hardworking Australians of the support they need during this shutdown.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

17th Jun 2020, 7:16 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 - Disallow sovereign entity provisions

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The same number of senators voted for and against the question "that item 4 of schedule 1 of the rules be disallowed." Since a majority wasn't reached, the question failed and item 4 will remain unchanged.

What is item 4 of schedule 1?

4 Paragraph 7(2)(e)

After “sovereign entity”, insert “, or would be a sovereign entity if subparagraphs 880‑15(c)(ii) and (iii) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 were disregarded”.

This item effectively excludes from JobKeeper people who work for companies that are ultimately owned by a foreign sovereign entity. NSW Senator Tony Sheldon (Labor), who introduced this disallowance motion, gave the following explanation:

I want to focus now on those Australian workers who are shut out of the sovereign entity provisions. Let's be very clear about what the government has done: in 2018 they approved the sale of Qantas's Q Catering to dnata, a catering company owned by the Emirates airlines, which is itself owned by the UAE government. Now they want to turn around and effectively punish these workers for this decision. It is no fault of these workers what the ultimate ownership structure of the company is. It is a well-known feature of the aviation industry around the world that there are high levels of government ownership. This is how aviation works. In any case, it should not matter. They are Australian workers. They pay income tax, like everyone else, to this government. They expect the government to treat them equally and fairly.

No Yes (strong) Not passed

17th Jun 2020, 11:04 AM – Senate Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 2) Bill 2020 - Second Reading - Fair Work Commission oversight

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The majority voted in favour of an amendment to the usual second reading motion, which means it succeeded. It was introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens). Motions like these don't make any legal changes but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

At the end of the motion, add:

", but the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) the JobKeeper scheme requires that employers that have decided to participate must ensure that all eligible employees are nominated for the scheme,

(ii) the decision about employee eligibility is entirely at the discretion of employers, and

(iii) there is currently no avenue for employees to dispute decisions made by their employer to include some, but not all, employees in the scheme; and

(b) calls on the Government to give the Fair Work Commission the power to deal with disputes about whether a worker of an employer participating the JobKeeper scheme is eligible for the JobKeeper payment".

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

15th Jun 2020, 4:13 PM – Senate Motions - Covid-19: Higher Education - Extend JobKeeper

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Australian universities are facing massive losses in revenue as a result of falling enrolments during the COVID-19 crisis, and

(ii) universities across the country have begun to announce job cuts, with up to 30,000 jobs expected to be lost;

(b) calls on vice-chancellors to prioritise retaining staff, including those on casual and fixed-term contracts, in their responses to revenue losses, and

(c) calls on the government to include all universities in the JobKeeper scheme.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

10th Jun 2020, 6:57 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020; Disallowance - Extend JobKeeper to universities

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The majority voted against a motion to disallow certain items of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020. NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens), who introduced the motion, explained that:

Items 5 to 7 of schedule 1 limit universities' eligibility for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. This motion would reverse the extension of the turnover calculation period to six months and the inclusion of funding supplied under the Higher Education Support Act and the Australian Research Council Act in the relevant definition of revenue for universities.

Motion text

That items 5 to 7 of Schedule 1 of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020, made under the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020, be disallowed.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

14th May 2020, 12:05 PM – Senate Motions - Jobkeeper Payment - Dnata workers

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The same number of senators voted for and against the motion introduced by NSW Senator Tony Sheldon (Labor), which means it failed because it didn't achieve a majority.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2018, the Government approved the sale of Qantas' catering business to Dnata, an in-flight catering company which is part of the Emirates group, owned by the Government of Dubai,

(ii) Dnata employs 6000 workers every year at nine Australian airports, most of whom previously worked for Qantas' catering business,

(iii) workers at Dnata are Australians who have worked in the Australian aviation industry their whole working lives,

(iv) since the grounding of flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic most workers at Dnata have been asked to work as a skeleton crew,

(v) when Prime Minister Morrison, and Treasurer Frydenberg announced JobKeeper, the Treasurer said: "Australians know that their government has their back",

(vi) on May 1, 2020 the Government, without consulting businesses or workers, changed the rules of the JobKeeper program to exclude companies including Dnata,

(vii) on May 4, 2020, 5500 Australian workers at Dnata were told they were no longer eligible for JobKeeper payments due to the changes made by the Federal Government, and

(viii) every cent of the Job Keeper payment goes to the workers who need it – the money would not go to the foreign-owned company;

(b) recognises that workers at Dnata do not choose who owns the company they work for; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

(i) honour its commitment to Australian workers and demonstrate that it "has their back", no matter who owns their company; and

(ii) reverse the rule that excludes the 5500 workers at Dnata from JobKeeper payments.

absent Yes Not passed

13th May 2020, 4:29 PM – Senate Motions - Jobkeeper Payment - Extend

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The same number of senators voted for and against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart (Labor), which means it failed because it didn't receive majority support.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Labor, recognising the importance of maintaining the link between workers and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, argued for a wage subsidy program well before the Prime Minister accepted one was necessary,

(ii) the Government concedes it undershot its own JobKeeper enrolment targets by half a million workers, as employers trying to understand their eligibility struggle with the complexity of the program and how to access it,

(iii) data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows massive job losses and hits to workers' wages concentrated in industries dominated by the casual workers the Government has excluded from JobKeeper,

(iv) the Treasurer still has the power to include more workers in the scheme and protect more jobs, and

(v) the Government is openly canvassing an early windback of JobKeeper, rather than helping struggling Australians access it; and

(b) calls on the Treasurer to:

(i) urgently use his power to address gaps in the JobKeeper program to protect more jobs now; and

(ii) ensure longer-term support is provided to Australian workers, businesses and communities in the months and years ahead.

absent Yes Not passed

8th Apr 2020, 8:22 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - JobKeeper accessibility and the Arts

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Whish-Wilson explained the rationale behind his amendment in his contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate:

(a) is of the opinion that the arts, entertainment, creative and events industries, and hospitality and tourism industries have been severely hit by this crisis and are not getting adequate support from this package;

(b) calls on the Treasurer to ensure the following categories of businesses and workers are able to access the JobKeeper Program:

(i) casual workers who have not been with the same employer for 12 months,

(ii) freelance performers, content creators, and crew who are engaged as direct employees on short-term contracts on a project by project basis but are not registered as a business,

(iii) businesses that do not have a consistent stream of linear revenue across the year, such as those working on screen and stage productions, festivals and events, and therefore the revenue test is not applicable and should instead be for a comparable period not month, and

(iv) entities that are established as dedicated Special Purpose Vehicles which is common in the arts, entertainment and events sectors for individual projects, and are unlikely to meet the various tests and requirements therefore excluding many workers; and

(c) is of the opinion that the arts, entertainment and creative industries need a tailored package to provide adequate support immediately and to assist recovery after the crisis, which should include:

(i) restoring and increasing Australia Council funding to expand access for individuals and organisations to access grants,

(ii) establish a Content Creator Fund for the production of local content to support high quality local content, our creative industries and, importantly, allow Australians to keep telling their own stories, and

(iii) local content requirements for broadcast, radio, subscription and streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon, Stan, Apple and Spotify".

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

8th Apr 2020, 8:19 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - Accessibility of support

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by NSW Senator Tony Sheldon (Labor) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Sheldon explained the rationale behind his amendment in his contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate calls on the Government to:

(a) ensure that the JobKeeper wage subsidy is only used by employers to pay their employees' wages and not to subsidise their company's balance sheet, noting that there should be no provision for business to force employees to use their annual leave entitlements and pay for that leave with the JobKeeper wage subsidy;

(b) recognise that the Australian arts and entertainment sector needs a specific, tailored, fiscal response package to ensure its ongoing viability, given the structure of the JobKeeper payment has been designed in a way that leaves many workers in the sector ineligible;

(c) extend the 15 per cent reduction in turnover threshold to all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Disability Employment Services (DES) providers, and deliver a retention and support package for the disability sector workforce;

(d) provide much more support for staff in schools, TAFEs, and universities affected by this crisis, noting that:

(i) hundreds of thousands of school and university staff, including casual workers, are facing job losses, but will not be eligible for this JobKeeper payment, and

(ii) the Government should be saving jobs and making sure Australia has a strong and sustainable education and training sector on the other side of this crisis;

(e) recognise the importance of local government, acknowledging that the closure of council facilities has resulted in significant revenue loss and workers being stood down and that without support, up to 45,000 local government workers could lose their jobs, demonstrating the need for the Government to work together with state governments to address these important issues; and

(f) note that a number of major charities will be unable to access the JobKeeper program, and will have to shed staff and cease programs as a result".

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

8th Apr 2020, 8:12 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - Casual workers

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by Victorian Senator Jess Walsh (Labor) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Walsh explained the rationale behind her amendment in her contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate:

(a) notes that casual workers deserve to be treated with the same respect as every other worker who faces losing their job because of this pandemic; and

(b) calls on the Government to provide the JobKeeper payment to the 1.1 million casual workers who have worked for their employer for less than a year".

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

8th Apr 2020, 8:08 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - Visa holders

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by NSW Senator Kristina Keneally (Labor) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Keneally explained the rationale behind her amendment in her contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add:

", but the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) during the coronavirus crisis, if someone living in Australia needs support, they should be able to access it,

(ii) the Government has extended the jobkeeper payment to 444 visa holders on the basis that these visa holders have a long connection with their employers,

(iii) many other visa holders have equally long connections with their employers, but their employers will not be able to claim the jobkeeper payment for these employees,

(iv) the package of bills before the Senate will give the Treasurer the power to extend the jobkeeper payment to any visa holder,

(v) this is an important power given the current environment, and one that is supported by the Labor Party,

(vi) the Minister for Families and Social Services has similar powers to expand the jobseeker payment to other categories of people, including various types of visa holders, but the Minister has not exercised these powers in relation to temporary visa holders to date,

(vii) Labor supports the Government's position that if a temporary migrant worker can go home, they should. However, many temporary migrants are now trapped in Australia by border closures and the shutdown of international flights,

(viii) where migrants cannot go home, the Government must ensure temporary visa holders are not getting sick or falling through the cracks, and

(ix) the lack of support for temporary migrants trapped in Australia is a serious public health and economic issue for all Australians; and

(b) calls on the Government to use these powers to provide appropriate support to everyone living in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic."

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

8th Apr 2020, 8:05 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - Extend accessibility of JobKeeper Payment

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters (Greens) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Waters explained the rationale behind her amendment in her contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate:

(a) notes that the Government's proposed eligibility rules for the JobKeeper payment exclude millions of workers; and

(b) calls on the Government to extend access to the JobKeeper payment to everyone who needs it, including:

(i) over 1 million casual workers who have worked for their current employer for less than 12 months,

(ii) everyone who relies on insecure, short-term, contract and gig-economy work,

(iii) people on temporary visas, including work, skilled, protection, student, and non-protected special category visas, many of whom are also ineligible for Medicare,

(iv) universities and their highly insecure and casualised workforces who are crucial to our recovery from this crisis and deserve full access to JobKeeper, and

(v) charities that largely rely on government grants and specific purpose funding and will not meet the 15 per cent threshold as a result".

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted 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 2 0 100
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* 10 10 20
Total: 10 140

*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 = 10 / 140 = 7.1%.

And then