How Kerry O'Brien voted compared to someone who believes that the Federal Government should amend the Marriage Act 1961 so that same-sex couples can marry under Australian law

Division Kerry O'Brien Supporters vote Division outcome

25th Feb 2010, 4:05 PM – Senate Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted against a motion to read the bill for a second time.

This means that the majority of senators reject the main idea of the bill, which is to allow marriage regardless of sex, sexuality and gender identity

Someone who voted Aye supports the main idea of the bill. Since the majority voted No, the bill will not considered any further.

Debate in Parliament

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the bill as a private member's bill. She argued that the bill would remove “the discrimination that currently exists within the Marriage Act”.

Both the Labor Government and the Coalition Opposition opposed this bill, arguing that the current marriage law was not discriminatory.

Background to the Bill

The Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 was introduced at a time when Australian states and territories are establishing relationship registration and civil partnership schemes for same-sex couples. At the time of this division, such schemes have been established in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. However, Senator Hanson-Young argues that these schemes are insufficient and “fall short of equal legal recognition”.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

26th Nov 2009, 10:32 AM – Senate Motions - Civil Partnerships - ACT bill

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate- (a) notes the recent passing by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly of the Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill 2009; and(Read more about same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in the Australia Capital Territory here ) (b) congratulates the first couple to hold a legally-recognised ceremony in the Australian Capital Territory, Mr Warren McGaw and Mr Chris Rumble, who on 25 November 2009 celebrated their love and commitment in front of family and friends.(Read more about the ceremony on the ABC here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

26th Nov 2009, 10:27 AM – Senate Motions - National Year of Action on Marriage Equality

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate notes that Saturday, 28 November 2009 marks the start of the National Year of Action on Marriage Equality and that rallies will be held in capital cities across the country.(Read more about the planned rallies here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

12th Nov 2008, 6:53 PM – Senate Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - General Law Reform) Bill 2008 - In Committee - Legalise same-sex marriage

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The majority voted against Greens amendment (1), which would have changed the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage if it had been successful.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young explained that:

This amendment deals with amending the Marriage Act to ensure that in this particular bill, which is the general law reform bill, we enable same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples to have the same rights and entitlements as each other. There is one glaring omission from this particular bill, and that is the Marriage Act. I have flagged this numerous times. The Greens have been talking about the need for gay marriage law reform for a long time and this is the appropriate place to do this.

Motion text

(1) Schedule 2, page 21 (after line 16), after item 60, insert:

Marriage Act 1961

60A Section 5 (definition of marriage)

Omit “a man and a woman”, substitute “two persons, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity”.

60B Subsection 47(1)

Omit “a man and a woman”, substitute “two persons, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity”.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

8th Feb 2007, 10:47 AM – Senate Motions - Same-Sex Relationships - ACT legalising same-sex relationships

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate notes the right of the Australia Capital Territory Government to legislate for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships.(Read more about the recognition of same-sex unions in the ACT on Wikipedia.)

References

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

15th Jun 2006, 1:06 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Capital Territory Civil Unions Legislation - Disallow the government's attempt to disallow the legislation

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Kerry Nettle also on behalf of Senators Joe Ludwig and Natasha Stott Despoja.

The motion was: "That the instrument made by the Governor-General on 13 June 2006 under subsection 35(2) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, disallowing the Civil Unions Act 2006 (ACT), be disallowed."

This motion would have disallowed the federal government’s intervention in the ACT Civil Unions Act 2006, when the Federal Executive Council told the Governor-General to disallow the Act.(Read more about the Act and the federal government's intervention here. )

Liberal Party Senator Gary Humphries rebelled against his party as he crossed the floor to vote 'aye' with the Opposition.(Read more about what it means to be a rebel in our FAQ Section. )

Background to the motion

The Civil Unions Bill 2006 was introduced "to provide a scheme for two people, regardless of their sex, to enter into a formally recognised union (a civil union) that attracts the same rights and obligations as would attach to married spouses under Territory law."(Read more in the explanatory statement that is available here. ) This bill was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 11 May 2006.(Learn more about the passing of the ACT Bill here on the ABC's PM Program.)

References

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 0 50
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 36 132

*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 = 36 / 132 = 27%.

And then