How Ben Small voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should put a ban on new thermal coal mines opening in Australia

Division Ben Small Supporters vote Division outcome

18th Mar 2021, 4:59 PM – Senate Motions - New South Wales: Coal Industry - Acknowledge importance

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan (LNP), which means it passed. Motions like this don't make any legal changes on their own but are influential because they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the New South Wales (NSW) coal industry has coexisted with the Hunter Valley community for over 200 years, supporting the local community and providing the essential ingredients for cheap, reliable power, strong domestic manufacturing, and a thriving energy export industry,

(ii) many mines have commenced and closed during this time, with companies rehabilitating the land to a productive state for agricultural and native ecosystems, and

(iii) mining and agriculture can coexist, with land use trials noting the benefits for cattle grazing on rehabilitated land compared with existing pasture; and

(b) acknowledges the importance of the NSW coal industry for ensuring the reliability of the national energy market and providing reliable energy for domestic manufacturing.

Yes No Passed by a modest majority

2nd Feb 2021, 4:10 PM – Senate Motions - Coal-Fired Power Stations - Build in the Hunter

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts (One Nation Party), which means it failed.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes the Hunter Valley has the best thermal coal in the world; and

(b) calls on the Morrison Government to build a coal fired power station in the Hunter.

No No Not 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* 0 0 0
Total: 10 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 = 10 / 20 = 50%.

And then