How Stirling Griff voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should establish a Royal Commission to investigate the government's Robodebt scheme, officially known as the Online Compliance Intervention, which related to automated debt recovery

Division Stirling Griff Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Dec 2020, 5:05 PM – Senate Motions - Pensions and Benefits - Robodebt

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Helen Polley (Labor), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) robodebt was an unlawful scheme, which resulted in $721 million being stolen from 373,000 individuals and that the Federal Government has agreed to a settlement which will cost taxpayers up to $1.2 billion in total making it the biggest class action in Australian legal history,

(ii) this cost does not account for the psychological impacts that this scheme has had on thousands of Australians who were already vulnerable,

(iii) this scheme employed income averaging and reversed the onus of proof requiring people to disprove grossly overestimated debts relating to income periods older than seven years, and

(iv) despite being warned of its illegality from its inception, it took more than three years for the Government to stop this unlawful scheme and that was only as a result of a High Court decision;

(b) calls on the Government to acknowledge the failings of the robodebt scheme and the pain and anguish it unleashed on the Australian people; and

(c) urges the Government to call a Royal Commission so those responsible can be held accountable for their actions, and stop the mistakes of robodebt from being repeated.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

27th Aug 2020 – Senate Motions - Pensions and Benefits - Establish Robodebt Royal Commission

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The same number of senators voted for and against a motion introduced by NSW Senator Deborah O'Neill (Labor), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government's unlawful 'Robodebt' scheme has:

(A) caused hardship for working Australians who paid faulty debts,

(B) had consequences for mental health including being linked to suicide,

(C) negatively impacted people's credit ratings, and

(D) created a 'climate of fear' among ordinary Australians,

(ii) despite four years of warnings, the Government failed to address the fundamental flaws of 'Robodebt',

(iii) the Government has admitted that 'Robodebt' was unlawful,

(iv) the 'Robodebt' scheme has likely cost more to implement than was recouped through stand-over tactics, debt collectors and tax returns,

(v) the current Prime Minister and Attorney-General were involved in 'Robodebt's' design and implementation as the Treasurer and Social Services Minister,

(vi) the Government has attempted to cover up the 'Robodebt' scandal through a public interest immunity claim in the Senate and the Federal Court,

(vii) it is in the public interest to uncover the circumstances under which a government unlawfully took money from its own people, and

(viii) a Royal Commission is the only forum with the coercive powers and broad jurisdiction necessary to properly perform this investigation; and

(b) calls on the Government to immediately establish a Royal Commission into 'Robodebt'.

Yes Yes Not passed

16th Jun 2020, 4:55 PM – Senate Motions - Pensions and Benefits - Establish Royal Commission into Robodebt

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) robodebt and the income compliance program has caused enormous harm and trauma to hundreds of thousands of Australians, and

(ii) the Government has not genuinely apologised to robodebt victims;

(b) acknowledges that:

(i) the Government is only refunding illegal debts from 2015, which will leave many victims behind, and

(ii) the social and economic costs of this program have not been fully identified and examined; and

(c) calls on the Government to establish a Royal Commission into robodebt to examine all elements of this program.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest 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 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 11 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 = 11 / 22 = 50%.

And then