How Sarah Henderson voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government needs to make closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians a priority

Division Sarah Henderson Supporters vote Division outcome

16th Feb 2021, 5:00 PM – Senate Motions - Closing the Gap - Adequate funding

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The majority voted in favour of a motion numbered 991 introduced by Senators Patrick Dodson (Labor), Malarndirri McCarthy (Labor) and Lidia Thorpe (Greens), which means it succeeded.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 13 years ago, on 13 February 2008, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in the Australian Parliament,

(ii) on behalf of the nation, the former Prime Minister apologised for the suffering inflicted on First Nations families, especially through the removal of children from their families,

(iii) the first Closing the Gap targets and strategy were part of the National Apology,

(iv) the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap contains additional targets, including to address overrepresentation in the criminal justice and child protection systems, and

(v) this is the first year since 2008 that the Prime Minister has not presented a Closing the Gap report to Parliament on the anniversary of the National Apology;

(b) acknowledges:

(i) the ongoing impact of dispossession, discrimination and trauma on First Nations people;

(ii) the continued disparity between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, including the disproportionate number of First Nations children in out-of-home care, and

(iii) the responsibility of the Federal Government in maintaining the ambition necessary to achieve the Closing the Gap targets; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to ensure adequate investment in the new Closing the Gap targets.

absent Yes Passed by a large majority

10th Jun 2020, 3:47 PM – Senate Motions - COVID-19 - First Nations

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by WA Senator Rachel Siewert, which means the motion failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) recognises the leadership shown by First Nations community-controlled health, legal and community services which responded to the COVID-19 crisis quickly and effectively;

(b) acknowledges that First Nations communities bear a disproportionate burden in this crisis in terms of:

(i) the additional health risk posed by COVID-19 to First Nations peoples,

(ii) the risk that COVID-19 policies will disproportionately, and unfairly, affect First Nations peoples who are already subjected to targeting by police, over-represented in the criminal justice system and experience higher rates of family and domestic violence; and

(iii) the impact on First Nations peoples' employment; and

(c) calls on state, territory and federal governments across Australia to implement the key asks of First Nations-led justice coalition Change the Record and work together to protect the health, safety and rights of all First Nations peoples during COVID-19 by:

(i) developing and implementing plans to release First Nations prisoners who are low-risk, have chronic health conditions, are on remand, are elderly, children or are for whatever reason at increased risk of COVID-19,

(ii) protecting the human rights of First Nations peoples in prison by ensuring access to oversight and monitoring agencies, family, legal services, mental health care, education and programs,

(iii) connecting First Nations peoples who experience family violence during COVID-19 with culturally appropriate services such as the Family Violence Prevention Legal Service,

(iv) increasing support and access to safe accommodation for First Nations families fleeing family violence to stop removals of First Nations children and ensure principles of First Nations family-led decision making are applied where-ever possible,

(v) resisting punitive policy responses to COVID-19 and the over-policing of already targeted communities, and require transparency and oversight in policing,

(vi) ensuring that First Nations peoples, including those with disability, are given equal access to high quality and culturally-appropriate health care during COVID-19, and

(vii) committing to rebuilding our justice and child protection system after COVID-19 to focus on investing in families and community, not prisons, to increase community safety and prevent child removals and further black deaths in custody.

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

13th Feb 2020, 12:25 PM – Senate Motions - Closing the Gap - Commit

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

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Closing the Gap Report 2020 shows that we are on track to meet just 2 of the 7 targets to reduce the disparity in health, education and employment outcomes between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous peoples;

(b) acknowledges:

(i) the important work being done between the Council of Australian Governments and the Coalition of Peaks to develop a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and

(ii) that punitive measures like compulsory income management, the Cashless Debit Card, the Northern Territory Intervention, and the Community Development Program are inconsistent with this new approach;

(c) further notes the failure to implement recommendations from significant reports, such as:

(i) The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,

(ii) Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families; and

(iii) Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory; and

(d) calls on the Federal Government to abandon punitive measures and to commit to a genuine process of self-determination to close the gap.

No Yes Not passed by a small 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 2 0 20
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 1 1 2
Total: 1 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 = 1 / 22 = 4.5%.

And then