How David Van voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should introduce legislation that increases consumer protections by, for example, encouraging competition

Division David Van Supporters vote Division outcome

11th May 2021, 3:59 PM – Senate Motions - Banking and Financial Services - Protect consumers

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The majority vote in favour of a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Murray Watt (Labor). Although these types of motions don’t make any legal changes on their own, they can be politically influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that, in 2009, the then Labor Government introduced responsible lending obligations (RLOs), legislation protecting the interests of consumers by placing an obligation on lenders that they not enter into a credit contract or lease that is unsuitable for the consumer;

(b) recognises that some small amount credit contracts (SACCs) lenders are preying on vulnerable low income Australians by entering into payday loans and consumer leases with crippling interest rates; the Stop the Debt Trap Alliance's The debt trap report found that many SACCs were going to financially stressed and distressed households, leading to an ongoing cycle of debt from which it was difficult to escape;

(c) expresses its support for laws which protect consumers from unsafe lending practices;

(d) condemns the Federal Government for:

(i) introducing legislation which scraps RLOs,

(ii) taking more than four years to introduce the SACC reforms they promised, and

(iii) introducing weak protections for SACC consumers; and

(e) calls on the Federal Government to make a genuine commitment to protecting consumers from unsafe and predatory lending practices.

absent Yes Passed by a small majority

10th Feb 2020, 9:48 PM – Senate Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 2) Bill 2019 - in Committee - Limit the exemption

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The majority voted against amendments moved by NSW Senator Jenny McAllister, which means they failed.

What were the amendments?

Senator McAllister explains that:

The legislation provides exemptions for certain firms from some regulatory obligations. As I argued earlier, we think that these exemptions should only be available to firms that have products and services that are genuinely innovative and will benefit customers. It's the second part of the test that seems to me to be quite important, given the very large number of examples that we have available to us of innovation that in fact is not good for customers and is only good for businesses by virtue of exploiting customers. The amendment that's been circulated sets out a basic test that ASIC would apply. It would empower ASIC to prevent products and services that don't meet the innovation-and-benefit test from accessing the exemption.

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest:

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 2) Bill 2019 comprises two Schedules which have different purposes:

  • Schedule 1 amends the Corporations Act 2001 and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCP Act) to allow conditions to be imposed on providers of financial and credit products who utilise the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) existing regulatory sandbox arrangements to test new, innovative ‘Fintech’ products in the Australian market and
  • Schedule 2 makes minor amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA97) and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA36) to ensure that the venture capital and early stage tax concessions in the ITAA97 and ITAA36 operate as intended.
No Yes Not passed by a small majority

12th Nov 2019, 1:07 PM – Senate Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the bill's main idea, which means the senators can now discuss the bill in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.

What is the bill's main idea?

The bill was introduced "to implement a legislative framework consisting of new prohibitions and remedies in relation to electricity retail, contract and wholesale markets." You can learn more about these new prohibitions and remedies in the bills digest.

Yes Yes Passed by a large majority

How "voted a mixture of for and 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 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 11 22

*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 = 11 / 22 = 50%.

And then