How Dean Smith voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase funding for university education

Division Dean Smith Supporters vote Division outcome

8th Oct 2020, 5:41 PM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the Senate. In other words, they voted to read the bill for a third time. Because new amendments were agreed to in the Senate, the bill needs to return to the House of Representatives for a final time before it can become law.

What does the bill do?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

8th Oct 2020, 1:09 PM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Agree to remaining stages

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the remaining stages of this bill, subject to a request. In other words, the senators voted that they agreed to the bill as amended. If the House of Representatives agrees with the request - that is, the Senate amendments - then the bill will return to the Senate for a final vote before becoming law.

What does the bill do?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

8th Oct 2020, 11:49 AM – Senate Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority voted to agree with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bill a second reading. This means they can now discuss it in more detail.

What is the main idea of the bill?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a small majority

17th Oct 2019, 11:31 AM – Senate Emergency Response Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 - in Committee - The Education Investment Fund

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The majority voted in favour of a motion that schedule 2 of the Emergency Response Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 stand as printed. In other words, they wanted to keep that schedule unchanged.

What is Schedule 2?

Schedule 2 abolishes the Education Investment Fund ("EIF"). According to the bills digest:

The EIF was established on 1 January 2009 by section 131 of the Nation-building Funds Act 2008 (NBF Act), to provide dedicated ongoing capital funding for tertiary education and research infrastructure, including for universities, vocational education and training providers and other non-university organisations.

The EIF was intended to provide a large-scale funding source for transformational projects which would allow Australian research and tertiary education institutions to compete effectively with international counterparts.

Unlike many other tertiary education infrastructure funding programs, the EIF was not limited to supporting research infrastructure, but instead funded a wide range of investments, including learning and teaching spaces.

Yes No (strong) Passed by a large majority

15th Sep 2016, 9:16 PM – Senate Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Higher education funding

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, which means it was unsuccessful.

Motion text

At the end of the motion, add:

, but the Senate rejects the slashing of more than $514 million from higher education programs and support for students as inappropriate saving measures that will hurt Australian students and universities and damage Australia's international reputation as an innovative leader in education.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

16th Jun 2014, 5:49 PM – Senate Motions - Higher Education Funding - Reverse the budget cuts

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was successful. The motion is:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that in its first budget the Abbott Coalition Government is cutting $5.8 billion from public higher education, including:(Read more about the 2014 federal budget and its impacts on higher education on Wikipedia here. )

(i) $3.2 billion from changes to the HECS-HELP repayment threshold and increased interest rates for HECS-HELP debt,

(ii) $1.1 billion from cuts to Commonwealth funding for course fees,

(iii) $504 million from removing the grandfathering provisions included in the conversion of Student Start-Up Scholarships into loans,(Read more about this budget initiative here.)

(iv) $290 million from cutting funding to Relocation Scholarships,

(v) $204 million from decreasing indexation rates for grants,

(vi) $170 million from research training cuts,

(vii) $121 million from cutting higher education reward funding,

(viii) $87.7 million from removing the HECS-HELP discount for priority courses redundant,

(ix) $75 million ARC funding cuts,

(x) $51 million from cuts to Access and Participation Grants, and

(xi) $31million from cuts to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standard Agency;

(b) acknowledges the crucial role played by public higher education in providing millions of Australians with skills that benefit the broader community; and

(c) calls on the Government to immediately reverse these budget cuts and commit to a well funded and accessible public higher education system.

References

No Yes Passed by a small majority

17th Mar 2014, 8:02 PM – Senate Regulations and Determinations - Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) 2013, Commonwealth Grant Scheme Guidelines 2012 - Disallowance

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Senator Kim Carr, which was:

"No. 1—That the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) 2013, made under section 238-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, be disallowed, and"

"No. 2—That Amendment No. 1 to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme Guidelines 2012, made under section 238-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, be disallowed."

Because this motion was successful, this 2013 Guideline and amendment to the 2012 Guideline are now disallowed and therefore cease to have effect.(Read more about what it means to disallow a legislative instrument here. )

Background to the motion

The amendment to the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) 2012 and the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) 2013 were introduced to implement an efficiency dividend to university funding as part of the 2013-14 Budget.(See the explanatory statements of the amendment to the 2012 Guideline here and the 2013 Guideline here. Learn more about these cuts on Lateline here.) The efficiency dividend is a reduction in loading per Commonwealth supported place.

No Yes Passed by a small majority

20th Nov 2012, 4:14 PM – Senate Motions - University of Western Sydney - Retain current courses and academic staffing resources

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which means that it was rejected. The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) the University of Western Sydney (UWS) has foreshadowed planned cuts to economics and community languages courses and academic staffing cuts across various schools,

(ii) UWS claims the cuts are in response to budgetary pressures due to lower than expected student enrolments following the uncapping of university places, however the university still carries a budget surplus and can expect a steady increase in enrolments over time,

(iii) in 2003 UWS allocated 62.5 per cent of student fees earned to teaching and learning, whereas in 2012 only 38.3 per cent of student fees earned went to teaching and learning, with a corresponding increase in administration expenditure,

(iv) teaching and learning is under resourced at UWS, with one of the highest staff to student ratios in Australia as well as one of the highest staff casualisation rates, and further staffing cuts will deny the students of Western Sydney a quality education, and

(v) UWS plans to close its student learning service that targets academic skills support to socially disadvantaged students and students who are the first in their family to attend university, which applies to a large number of students from Western Sydney; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) urge UWS management to retain its current courses and academic staffing resources, and

(ii) immediately increase public funding by 10 per cent per government supported university student, as recommended by the Bradley review, to give budget certainty to universities.

No Yes Not passed by a modest 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 4 0 200
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 4 0 40
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 0 240

*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 / 240 = 0.0%.

And then