How Wendy Askew 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 Wendy Askew Supporters vote Division outcome

11th Sep 2019, 6:35 PM – Senate Matters of Urgency - Newstart Allowance - Increase

Show detail

The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by SA Senator Alex Gallacher (Labor), which means it passed.

Motion text

Pursuant to standing order 75, I give notice that today I propose to move: 'That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

"The low rate of Newstart is making people sick and the Government must urgently increase the rate of Newstart to improve people's health, wellbeing and barriers to employment."

No Yes Passed by a small majority

11th Sep 2019, 4:27 PM – Senate Motions - Newstart Allowance - Increase

Show detail

The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens) also on behalf of WA Senator Patrick Dodson (Labor), which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that new research from Monash University on the health of Disability Support Pension and Newstart Allowance recipients found that:

(i) Newstart recipients were 6.8 times more likely to rate their health as poor compared to wage earners,

(ii) nearly half (48.6%) of Newstart recipients reported having mental or behavioural problems compared with 21% of wage earners, and

(iii) Newstart recipients were at 1.5 to 2 times increased risk of visiting a hospital compared with wage earners;

(b) acknowledges that the lead researcher, Professor Alex Collie stated 'My personal view is that an increase in the rate of Newstart would help people to become more healthy. It would help them to afford the things that a lot of us take for granted like food and housing, which are important things if you're trying to be healthy';

(c) recognises that poor health, poverty and financial stress is a barrier to work; and

(d) calls on the Federal Government to reduce the burden of ill health faced by Newstart recipients by immediately increasing the rate of Newstart.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

24th Jul 2019, 3:55 PM – Senate Motions - Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance - Increase

Show detail

The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens), which means it passed. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but are politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that the rate of Newstart for single people without children is $555.70 per fortnight,

(ii) that the Federal Government has taken action to address deeming rates acknowledging that part-pensioners were struggling,

(iii) that the Salvation Army's 2018 Economic and Social Impact Survey found that after paying for accommodation, Newstart recipients were left with $17 a day,

(iv) the findings of an analysis by the Australian National University's Professor Peter Whiteford, that Newstart is the second lowest unemployment payment in the OECD if we look at the replacement rate, and

(v) that the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019 found there were zero affordable rentals for a single person on Newstart or Youth Allowance in any major Australian city; and

(b) urges the Federal Government to immediately increase the single rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

4th Jul 2019, 5:33 PM – Senate Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More of Their Money) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Government should increase Newstart & Youth Allowance

Show detail

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

Motion text

At the end of the motion, add:

", but the Senate:

(a) notes that the bill does nothing to assist people receiving newstart allowance or youth allowance; and

(b) calls upon the Government to introduce legislation to amend the Social Security Act 1991 to increase the maximum single rates of newstart allowance and youth allowance by $150 per fortnight".

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

4th Jul 2019, 12:31 PM – Senate Motions - Newstart and Youth Allowance - Raise by $75 a week

Show detail

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) there are approximately 3 million people in Australia living in poverty, including over 700,000 children,

(ii) Australia has no poverty reduction plan and, despite economic growth, poverty levels have remained high,

(iii) Newstart and Youth Allowance have not had an increase in real terms for over 25 years,

(iv) recipients of these income support payments are unable to cover basic living costs such as housing, food, transport, healthcare and utilities,

(v) income inequality and poverty has significant negative effects on individuals' physical and mental wellbeing and society, and

(vi) poverty in early childhood can lead to poorer life outcomes; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to make it a priority to help address poverty in Australia by raising Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week.

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 5 0 50
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 50

*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 / 50 = 0.0%.

And then