How Christine Milne voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase the Newstart Allowance rate to ensure that it covers basic living costs

Division Christine Milne Supporters vote Division outcome

28th Jun 2013, 1:34 PM – Senate Social Security Amendment (Supporting More Australians into Work) Bill 2013 - Second Reading - Increase Newstart and support single parents

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert to the original motion, which means that it was unsuccessful.

The original motion was "that the bill be read a second time", to which Senator Siewert suggested the following amendment:

At the end of the motion, add:

"and the Senate calls on the Government:

(a) to increase Newstart by $50 a week; and

(b) to provide additional financial support to single parents to lift them and their children out of poverty."

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to amend the Social Security Act 1991 to implement several employment assistance initiatives announced by the Government in the 2013–14 Budget. The initiatives are to:

  • increase and also index the income test free area for allowance payments;
  • extend access to the Pensioner Education Supplement to Newstart Allowance recipients who are principal carers of at least one child and are not members of a couple; and
  • extend access to the Pensioner Concession Card for a single parent who loses access to the Card because they: have lost access to Parenting Payment-Single as their youngest child has turned eight years old; and no longer qualify for income support due to earnings from employment.(Read more about these initiatives in the bills digest.)
Yes Yes Not passed by a modest majority

1st Nov 2012, 12:24 PM – Senate Motions - Newstart - Increase

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The majority voted against this motion, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) resolves that Newstart payments are too low and should increase by $50 per week; and

(b) calls on the Government to find an appropriate savings measure to fund this increase.

Yes Yes Not passed by a modest majority

20th Sep 2012, 12:22 PM – Senate Motions - Newstart Allowance - Increase index rate

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The majority voted against this motion, which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) today, due to the differences in the types of indexation, pensions will go up by $17.10 while allowances will only increase by $2.90, and

(ii) indexation against the consumer price index alone keeps Newstart so low it cannot adequately meet the true increases in the cost of living; and

(b) urges the Government to take immediate steps to appropriately index Newstart at the same rate as the pension to prevent an ever-widening gap.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted very strongly for" 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 2 20 20
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 21 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 = 21 / 22 = 95%.

And then