Do They Vote For You?

Comparing words and actions

The federal election is less than a month away and, with some exceptions, our MPs are hot on the campaign trail seeking re-election. Now’s the time to decide whether you’re happy with your local MP’s work in representing your electorate, or whether you think it’s time for a change.

How can They Vote For You help?

MPs seeking re-election will be making many claims about how they’ve stood up for their electorate during their time in parliament. They Vote For You lets you check their claims against their actual voting record.

For example, to check Barnaby Joyce’s voting records on water rights, you can enter his name into the search field on theyvoteforyou.org.au and be taken to his profile page.

From here you can search within the page for “water” and see that Barnaby Joyce has voted very strongly for “Making more water from Murray-Darling Basin available to use” and very strongly against “Increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water“. Clicking on those policy names takes you to a detailed list of all the times when this MP is on record as voting on divisions (or formal votes) which relate to this policy. We also include a detailed breakdown of how we calculate the scoring to determine a stance.

How accurate is this voting record?

They Vote For You is as accurate as the available parliamentary data allows us to be. Unfortunately, our parliament does not keep a record of how our representatives vote ‘on the voices,’ which is when our MPs stay in their seats and shout ‘Aye!’ and No!’ so that the loudest side wins. This is unfortunate, because most votes in parliament take place on the voices, leading to an incomplete voting record.

It is also important to keep in mind that politics is a messy beast. Even if the way an MP has voted in parliament doesn’t line up with how their electorate would want them to vote on one particular issue, that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their job and representing their electorate. It’s often the case that politics involves compromise and tradeoffs – voting against the electorate’s desires on a smaller issue in order to be able to deliver a bigger win for the electorate on a more important issue. Those trade-offs and bigger pictures aren’t captured in the raw voting data, but we’d expect that any MP should be able to explain those things to their electorate.

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