How Gavin Marshall voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should decrease funding for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)

Division Gavin Marshall Supporters vote Division outcome

24th Jun 2015, 12:20 PM – Senate Communications Legislation Amendment (Sbs Advertising Flexibility and Other Measures) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Agree to bill's main idea

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The majority rejected the bill's main idea, which means that the bill was unsuccessful and won't be discussed any further in Parliament. In parliamentary jargon, they voted against reading it for a second time.

Bill's main idea

The bill would give SBS more flexibility in terms of advertising by, for example, letting SBS air more advertising and sponsorship announcements in prime time viewing periods so long as it reduced advertising at other times in a 24 hour period.

According to the bills digest, the Government says that the changes would mean SBS would be less dependent on government funding. Though some public broadcaster advocates argue that increasing advertising like this may lead to less diversity on SBS as it puts the needs of advertisers before the needs of viewers.

Read more about what the bill does and the arguments for and against it in its bills digest.

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

24th Nov 2014, 4:38 PM – Senate Motions - ABC and SBS - Against budget cuts

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The majority support Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's motion against the Government's budget cuts to the ABC and SBS.

Background to the bill

Before the 2013 federal election, Liberal MP Tony Abbott had promised that there would be "no cuts to the ABC or SBS" (see the interview with SBS and ABC's FactCheck analysis for the ABC promise and the SBS promise).

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) polling consistently shows That the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) are the most trusted media outlets in Australia and two of the most trusted organisations of any nature,

(ii) the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr Abbott, stated categorically before the 2013 federal election that there would be 'no cuts to the ABC or SBS', and

(iii) on 1 September 2014, the Minister for Communications refused an order of the Senate to lay on the table a copy of Mr Peter Lewis' efficiency review into the ABC and SBS [read more on ABC News]; and

(b) condemns the Abbott Government's:

(i) unjustified budget cuts to the ABC and SBS, and

(ii) deception of the Australian public in promising no cuts to the nation's public broadcasters.

absent No (strong) Passed by a small majority

How "voted moderately 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 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 4 0 40
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 4 4 8
Total: 39 158

*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 = 39 / 158 = 25%.

And then