How Jess Walsh voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should develop a specific Coronavirus (COVID-19) response package for the Arts and Entertainment sector as many workers in that sector are ineligible for the JobKeeper Payment

Division Jess Walsh Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Apr 2020, 8:22 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - JobKeeper accessibility and the Arts

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Whish-Wilson explained the rationale behind his amendment in his contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate:

(a) is of the opinion that the arts, entertainment, creative and events industries, and hospitality and tourism industries have been severely hit by this crisis and are not getting adequate support from this package;

(b) calls on the Treasurer to ensure the following categories of businesses and workers are able to access the JobKeeper Program:

(i) casual workers who have not been with the same employer for 12 months,

(ii) freelance performers, content creators, and crew who are engaged as direct employees on short-term contracts on a project by project basis but are not registered as a business,

(iii) businesses that do not have a consistent stream of linear revenue across the year, such as those working on screen and stage productions, festivals and events, and therefore the revenue test is not applicable and should instead be for a comparable period not month, and

(iv) entities that are established as dedicated Special Purpose Vehicles which is common in the arts, entertainment and events sectors for individual projects, and are unlikely to meet the various tests and requirements therefore excluding many workers; and

(c) is of the opinion that the arts, entertainment and creative industries need a tailored package to provide adequate support immediately and to assist recovery after the crisis, which should include:

(i) restoring and increasing Australia Council funding to expand access for individuals and organisations to access grants,

(ii) establish a Content Creator Fund for the production of local content to support high quality local content, our creative industries and, importantly, allow Australians to keep telling their own stories, and

(iii) local content requirements for broadcast, radio, subscription and streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon, Stan, Apple and Spotify".

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

8th Apr 2020, 8:19 PM – Senate Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 and related bills - Second Reading - Accessibility of support

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read for a second time" (which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill). This mean that the amendment failed.

This amendment was introduced by NSW Senator Tony Sheldon (Labor) and, if it had been successful, its text would have been added to the usual second reading motion as a note. In other words, it didn't seek to change the actual text of the bills.

Senator Sheldon explained the rationale behind his amendment in his contribution to the debate.

Amendment text

At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate calls on the Government to:

(a) ensure that the JobKeeper wage subsidy is only used by employers to pay their employees' wages and not to subsidise their company's balance sheet, noting that there should be no provision for business to force employees to use their annual leave entitlements and pay for that leave with the JobKeeper wage subsidy;

(b) recognise that the Australian arts and entertainment sector needs a specific, tailored, fiscal response package to ensure its ongoing viability, given the structure of the JobKeeper payment has been designed in a way that leaves many workers in the sector ineligible;

(c) extend the 15 per cent reduction in turnover threshold to all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Disability Employment Services (DES) providers, and deliver a retention and support package for the disability sector workforce;

(d) provide much more support for staff in schools, TAFEs, and universities affected by this crisis, noting that:

(i) hundreds of thousands of school and university staff, including casual workers, are facing job losses, but will not be eligible for this JobKeeper payment, and

(ii) the Government should be saving jobs and making sure Australia has a strong and sustainable education and training sector on the other side of this crisis;

(e) recognise the importance of local government, acknowledging that the closure of council facilities has resulted in significant revenue loss and workers being stood down and that without support, up to 45,000 local government workers could lose their jobs, demonstrating the need for the Government to work together with state governments to address these important issues; and

(f) note that a number of major charities will be unable to access the JobKeeper program, and will have to shed staff and cease programs as a result".

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly 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 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 2 20 20
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 20 20

*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 = 20 / 20 = 100%.

And then