How Mary Fisher voted compared to someone who believes that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators should vote to speed things along by supporting motions to 'put the question' (known as 'closure' or 'gag' motions), which require Parliament to immediately vote on a question rather than debating it any further

Division Mary Fisher Supporters vote Division outcome

19th Mar 2012, 10:21 PM – Senate Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011 and related bills - Second Reading - That the question now be put

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The majority voted in favour of a motion moved by Labor Senator Jacinta Collins that the question now be put.

The question referred to was one moved by Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann that:

...so much of standing order 142 be suspended as would prevent the Senate debating the issues that were just raised by Senator Bob Brown in relation to the constitutional aspects of his amendment and the constitutional aspects of the mining tax.(To learn more about standing orders, see this Fact Sheet. )

This means that the majority were in favour of now voting on Senator Cormann's motion, rather than continuing to debate the issue.(The division on Senator Cormann's motion is available here.)

References

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

19th Mar 2012, 9:26 PM – Senate Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011 and related bills - Second Reading - That the question now be put

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The majority voted in favour of a motion moved by Labor Senator Jacinta Collins that the question now be put.

The question referred to was a motion moved by Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann that:

...so much of standing order 142 be suspended as would prevent further consideration of the bill without limitation of time.(To learn more about standing orders, see this Fact Sheet. )

This means that the majority were in favour of now voting on Senator Cormann's motion, rather than continuing to debate the issue.(The division on Senator Cormann's motion is available here.)

References

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

8th Nov 2011 – Senate Clean Energy Bill 2011 and related bills - In Committee - Put the question

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This division relates to the Policy For a carbon price.

The majority voted in favour of a motion that the question be now put, which was moved by Labor Senator Chris Evans, Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Evans introduced the motion to put an end to the debate, which he said had already taken an "enormous amount of time".(Read the rest of Senator Evans explanation for the amendment here.)

The bills being debated were a package of eighteen bills to implement a carbon pricing mechanism, which is a key policy of the Australian Labor Party while in Government.

The eighteen bills were:

Background to the bills

The carbon pricing mechanism would commence on 1 July 2012. It is an emissions trading scheme that will put a price on carbon emissions. It will apply to “liable entities” (a group that includes companies that emit a high level of greenhouse gases). Initially the price of carbon will be fixed by the mechanism but from 1 July 2015 the price will be set by the market.

For more information on the carbon pricing mechanism and how it works, please see the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.

References

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

12th Oct 2011 – Senate Clean Energy Bill 2011 and related bills - First Reading - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion moved by Senator Joe Ludwig.

The motion was to put the question, meaning that this division was a vote on whether the Senate should now vote on a particular question. In this case, the question was whether these bills may proceed without formalities.(The division on that question is available here. )

Background to the bills

The Clean Energy Bill 2011 and seventeen related bills are designed to introduce the carbon pricing mechanism,(For more detail about the carbon pricing mechanism and how it works, please see the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.) which will commence on 1 July 2012. It is an emissions trading scheme that puts a price on carbon emissions. It applies to “liable entities” (a group that includes companies that emit a high level of greenhouse gases). Initially the price of carbon will be fixed by the mechanism but from 1 July 2015 the price will be set by the market.

The eighteen bills were:

References

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

11th Oct 2011 – Senate Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 - Third Reading - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the question be put. The question was that the bill be read a third time, which was subsequently put.(See that division here. )

Background to the bill

Compulsory student union fees were abolished under then Prime Minister John Howard’s Coalition Government with the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Upfront Student Union Fees) Bill 2005. This meant that universities could no longer require students to pay a compulsory fee for facilities, amenities or services that were not of an academic nature.

The Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 is the third bill introduced by the Labor Government to re-introduce a compulsory student services and amenities fee since 2009. The first bill, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities, and other Measures) Bill 2009, was defeated in the Senate.(See that division here.) The second, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2009, lapsed at the end of the 42nd Parliament.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

26th Nov 2010, 12:00 PM – Senate Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 — In Committee - Put the question

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to put the question, which in this case was whether the Senate agreed with the motion put by Senator George Brandis. Because this motion was successful, debate on the question ended and Senator Brandis' motion was immediately put to the Senate.(See that division here. )

Background to the bill

This bill was introduced following the lapse of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 and relates to the regulation of consumer protection, competition and licensing in telecommunications markets. According to the bills digest, significant changes made by this bill include:

  • improving the conditions for competition in telecommunications markets by requiring Telstra to be structurally or functionally separated
  • making the telecommunications access regime less susceptible to deliberate delay and obstruction
  • removing a technical impediment to the operation of the anti-competitive conduct regime applying to telecommunications markets
  • clarifying the universal service obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) to make it more enforceable
  • extending the obligation to provide priority assistance to those with life threatening conditions to service providers other than Telstra, and
  • enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.(More information about the bill is available in its bills digest.)

With these measures, the bill seeks to address the issues that result from the monopoly caused by Telstra's vertically and horizontally integrated telecommunications network.

Although this bill is substantially the same as the earlier bill of the same name, it does have some additional provisions.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

15th Mar 2010, 3:46 PM – Senate Food Importation (Bovine Meat Standards) Bill 2010 — Second Reading — Put the question to read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that the question of whether to read the bill for a second time now be put.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) The motion was moved by Senator Stephen Parry. The motion means that the Senate will now vote on having a second reading without further debate.(See that division here. )

Background to the bill

The bill would require that bovine meat and meat products must meet certain assessment processes before being imported into Australia and that the minister determines a country of origin labelling standard for those products.(Read more about the bill, including the text of the bill here. )

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck explained that the bill has been introduced "following the Rudd Government’s decision to allow the importation of beef and beef products from countries that had reported any cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)".(Read Senator Colbeck's whole explanation of the bill here. Read more about the Rudd Government's decision to allow imports on ABC's AM Program here. ) This decision means that such importations could take place from 1 March 2010. Since 2001, measures have been in place "to protect the public and the beef industry from potentially contaminated beef products".(As above.)

Yes Yes (strong) 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 1 50 50
MP voted against policy 6 0 300
MP absent 0 0 0
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: 50 350

*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 / 350 = 14%.

And then