How Bridget McKenzie voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation that reduces the gap in income between women and men and ensures both sexes are paid equally well

Division Bridget McKenzie Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Dec 2020, 4:53 PM – Senate Motions - Women's Economic Security - Retirement incomes

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The same number of senators vote for and against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Catryna Bilyk (Labor), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) on average, women retire with superannuation balances 50% lower than those of men,

(ii) 40% of older single retired women live in poverty and experience economic insecurity in retirement,

(iii) an estimated 220,000 women miss out on a combined $125 million of superannuation contributions as they do not meet the requirement to earn $450 per month from one employer, and

(iv) the Government deliberately excluded consideration of systemic problems in the superannuation system for women from the terms of reference of its retirement incomes review, despite 100 prominent Australians in senior business roles writing to the Treasurer and calling on him to do so; and

(b) calls on the Morrison Government to help women achieve equality in retirement by responding to the inequality raised in the retirement incomes review's final report and look at the systemic issues that lead to inequality between men's and women's retirement incomes.

No Yes Not passed

26th Aug 2020, 4:02 PM – Senate Motions - Superannuation - Inequality

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Tasmanian Senator Helen Polley (Labor), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate notes that—

(a) COVID-19 and the associated recession should not be used to justify changes to the scheduled superannuation payment increase from 9.5% to 12% by July 2025 – too many people retire with insufficient retirement savings, and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not show that an increase in superannuation leads to a decrease in wages;

(b) with superannuation withdrawals at $32 billion, and predictions that this will reach $42 billion by the end of the year, Australians will regard this temporary measure that is allowing early access to super as careless policy management and a complete lack of foresight;

(c) there have already been 560,000 Australians who have completely cleared out their retirement savings, with 82% of these people under the age of 35 – young people will already fare worse following this pandemic and this has aggravated the problem;

(d) females are already worse off, with women retiring with approximately 47% less super than men – this is due to higher levels of part-time and casual work and repeated career breaks; and

(e) there also needs to be a more targeted approach to reducing inequalities females face, and prevent them from retiring in poverty.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

20th Sep 2018, 12:33 PM – Senate Motions - Superannuation - Gender gap + low income earners

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters (Qld), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate:

(a) notes that women retire with around 40 per cent less superannuation than men, and supports legislative change to close this gap as quickly as possible;

(b) acknowledges that if the Gillard Government had adopted The Greens amendment to the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010, to ensure superannuation was paid to primary parents on leave, this gender retirement income gap would now be smaller;

(c) notes that the flat 15 per cent tax rate on superannuation contributions is regressive, with a disproportionate impact on the retirement savings for women, as they make up the majority of low income earners below the median wage; and

(d) calls on this or future governments to significantly boost the retirement balances of women by:

(i) making super contribution taxes progressive by setting them at 15 per cent below marginal tax rates, and

(ii) increasing the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset for earners below the tax-free threshold, in order to ensure all workers gain an equal tax benefit from superannuation.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

19th Jun 2013, 3:43 PM – Senate Motions - Health - Inquiry into unpaid care

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The majority disagreed that the Productivity Commission should be asked to conduct an inquiry into mechanisms for recognising and valuing unpaid care.

This motion was introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) notes that unpaid caring work being undertaken by Australian individuals is leading to inequality over the life-cycle of women and the emergence of gender-based disparity in retirement incomes; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) direct the Productivity Commission to conduct an inquiry into mechanisms for recognising and valuing unpaid care which might reduce the gender gap, including, but not limited to, options and models for superannuation and tax offsets, carer's leave, child care, aged pension supplements, and additional paid parental leave measures, and

(ii) specify That the inquiry examine the merits and feasibility of a system of 'carer credits' in the form of direct credits to the superannuation accounts of individuals with parent care responsibilities or carer responsibilities.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

22nd Nov 2012, 8:30 PM – Senate Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority agreed with the main idea of the bill (in parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill a second time). This means that they can now discuss the bill in more detail.

Main idea of the bill

The bill makes three main changes. It will:

  • widen the applicability of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 from just women to both women and men and so also change its name to the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012;
  • introduce a new and simplified process for employers to report how they are meeting certain gender equality indicators; and
  • increase compliance with the Act.

Background to the bill

During the 2010 election campaign, the Labor Government made a commitment to reduce gender inequality. Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong, said that this bill is part of that commitment.

Read more about the background in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Passed by a small majority

23rd Aug 2012, 12:08 PM – Senate Motions - Inequality - Introduce a Federal Equality Act

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The majority voted against introducing "a stand-alone Federal Equality Act", which was suggested by Greens Senator Penny Wright.

Wording of the motion

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that discrimination and inequality are alive and well in Australia, for example, in August 2010, women earned 16.9 per cent less than men on average per week, with the total earnings gap increasing to 34.8 per cent per week when taking into account part time and casual work; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) seize the opportunity to introduce a stand-alone Federal Equality Act that adopts global best-practice standards and brings Australian law into line with our international human rights obligations, and

(ii) ensure that new equality legislation includes, among other things, a specific duty to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, prohibits discrimination in all areas of public life and removes arbitrary and blanket exemptions.

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 1 0 50
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 4 0 40
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 1 92

*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 = 1 / 92 = 1.1%.

And then