How Kerry O'Brien voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights by, for example, increasing their legal recognition and protection

Division Kerry O'Brien Supporters vote Division outcome

14th Sep 2009, 6:19 PM – Senate Native Title Amendment Bill 2009 - In Committee - Proof of continuity

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was rejected. The amendment related to the issue of proving continuity (51.8 KB).

Senator Siewert explained that her amendment would have "reverse[d] the onus of proof so that native title holders do not have to prove continuity." Under this amendment "[t]here is a presumption of continuity ... [and] the state government and those opposing a claim have to prove otherwise." You can read Senator Siewert's whole explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here.

Background to the bill

The bill amends the _ Native Title Act 1993_ to:

  • enable the Federal Court to determine whether the court, the National Native Title Tribunal, or another individual/body should mediate native title claims;
  • specify the manner in which mediations are conducted;
  • change powers of the court in relation to agreed statements of fact and consent orders;
  • enable native title proceedings to rely on new evidence rules;
  • vary the operation of representative bodies, including their recognition and removal of transitional arrangements; and
  • make minor and technical amendments.

Read more about native title in Australia here.

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

How "voted very 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 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 10

*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 = 0 / 10 = 0.0%.

And then