How Kerry O'Brien voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should decrease the private health insurance rebate that eligible taxpayers are entitled to

Division Kerry O'Brien Supporters vote Division outcome

9th Mar 2010, 5:51 PM – Senate Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2009 [No. 2] - Second Reading - Read a second time

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An equal number of senators voted in favour and against a motion that the bill be read for a second time,(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become a law here. ) which was introduced by Senator Joe Ludwig. Because no majority was formed, the motion was negatived and so the bill will not be proceeding.

Background to the bill

This bill is part of a package of three bills, which include the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge) Bill 2009 (No. 2) and the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge—Fringe Benefits) Bill 2009 (No. 2). It was introduced to reduce the amount of private health insurance rebate eligible taxpayers with complying private health insurance are entitled to when their income for surcharge purposes is above the relevant Medicare levy surcharge threshold.(More information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here.)

Yes Yes (strong) Not passed

9th Sep 2009, 7:06 PM – Senate Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2009 and related bills - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted against a motion that the bills be read for a second time.(Read more about the stages that a bill needs to pass through before becoming law here. ) This means that the majority disagreed with the main idea of the bills and that they will not be proceeding.

Background to the bills

The three bills are:

They were introduced as a package to create three private health insurance tiers in order to:

  • reduce the amount of private health insurance rebate eligible taxpayers with complying private health insurance are entitled to when their income for surcharge purposes is above the relevant Medicare levy surcharge threshold;(Read more about the proposed reduction of the rebate in the bills digest (419 KB) for the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2009.

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  • increase the rate of Medicare levy surcharge for certain taxpayers who do not have complying health insurance and whose income for surcharge purposes is above the relevant Medicare levy surcharge threshold.(Read more about the proposed increase in the rate of Medicare levy surcharge the bills digest (339 KB) for Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge) Bill 2009 and the bills digest (346 KB) for the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives (Medicare Levy Surcharge - Fringe Benefits) Bill 2009.)
Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

5th Dec 2006, 12:40 PM – Senate Medibank Private Sale Bill 2006 - In Committee - Abolish the private health insurance rebate

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle.

Senator Nettle explained that these amendments "abolish the private health insurance rebate". She argued that this money used to pay this rebate "should be redirected and instead spent on our public healthcare system".(Read Senator Nettle's full explanation of these amendments here. )

Because the majority voted against these amendments, they were unsuccessful.

Background to the bill

The bill was introduced to allow the federal government to sell its interest in Medibank Private Limited and allow Medibank to operate on a “for profit” basis. The Coalition Government plans to do this after the 2007 election, should it be re-elected.(Read more about this privatisation proposal on Wikipedia here and on the ABC's World Today program here.)

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

22nd Jun 2006, 10:42 PM – Senate Health Legislation Amendment (Private Health Insurance) Bill 2006 - In Committee - Abolish the private health insurance rebate

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle.

Senator Nettle explained that these amendments "abolish the private health insurance rebate". She argued that this money used to pay this rebate should be "spent on ensuring that we have a quality public health system that all Australians can use".(Read Senator Nettle's full explanation of these amendments here. )

Because the majority voted against these amendments, they were unsuccessful.

Background to the bill

The bill expands the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman when dealing with complaints and conducting investigations on their own initiative or at the Minister’s request, particularly in relation to health care providers or brokers. It also allows additional time for Medicare Australia to provide the Australian Taxation Office with information regarding private health insurance rebates.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (84.4 KB).)

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 50 50
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: 61 72

*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 = 61 / 72 = 85%.

And then