How Ben Small voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase the Youth Allowance rate to ensure that it covers basic living costs

Division Ben Small Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Mar 2021, 3:05 PM – Senate Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021 - Second Reading - Greens amendments (raise youth allowance etc)

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by the Australian Greens, which means they failed. See this explanation for an overview of what each amendment did. A key purpose of the amendments was to raise the rate of certain welfare payments, including youth allowance and jobseeker.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

10th Dec 2020, 4:41 PM – Senate Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020 - Second Reading - Increase Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance

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The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion "that the bill be read a second time" - parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill.

Amendment text

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

(a) notes that the measures in this Bill will cut the coronavirus supplement from $250 a fortnight to $150 a fortnight, and throw an additional 330,000 people into poverty, which means the Government will have forced a total of 1.16 million Australians below the poverty line since September 2020; and

(b) calls on the Government to immediately announce a permanent and ongoing increase to the Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance so that unemployed and underemployed Australians can live above the poverty line".

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

9th Dec 2020, 4:27 PM – Senate Motions - Coronavirus Supplement - Increaserate of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance

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The same number of senators voted for and against the motion, which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government has failed to provide certainty to millions of Australians without work about the future rate of the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance,

(ii) treating income support payments like a political football by making ad hoc and last minute announcements to changes in payment rates is unfair, impacting people's mental health and ability to plan for their futures, and

(iii) with the Government's reduction to the Coronavirus Supplement to $150 a fortnight between January and March, those on the Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance, including the children who are living with parents who receive the Coronavirus Supplement will be living below the poverty line during the holiday period; and

(b) calls on the Government to permanently increase the rate of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to ensure that people on these payments are not living in poverty.

No Yes Not passed

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 3 0 30
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 30

*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 = 0 / 30 = 0.0%.

And then