Australian plebiscite, 1977 (National Song)

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As an additional question in the 1977 referendum, the voters were polled on the tune of which song they would prefer to be used to mark occasions where a particularly Australian national identity was desired. Voting on this question was not compulsory. This was the third plebiscite to be held in Australia, following two regarding military service in 1916 and 1917.[1]

Results[edit]

Voters were presented with the following choice: Against the background that ‘GOD SAVE THE QUEEN’ is the NATIONAL ANTHEM to be played on Regal and Vice Regal occasions, electors may indicate their preferences as to which of the tunes of the songs listed below they would prefer to be played on other occasions.[2]

Result
State On rolls Ballots issued "God Save the Queen" "Advance Australia Fair" "Song of Australia" "Waltzing Matilda" Informal
Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  %
New South Wales 3,007,511 2,537,805 348,885 15.32 1,169,421 51.35 121,456 5.33 637,795 28.00 260,248
Victoria 2,252,831 1,951,160 352,603 20.68 683,451 40.09 110,591 6.49 557,991 32.73 246,524
Queensland 1,241,426 1,056,804 204,453 21.38 438,929 45.90 61,234 6.40 251,609 26.31 100,579
South Australia 799,243 706,392 114,477 18.07 152,507 24.07 215,085 33.95 151,434 23.90 72,889
Western Australia 682,291 487,879 113,054 23.17 183,159 37.54 75,524 15.48 116,142 23.81 68,394
Tasmania 259,081 253,525 47,346 22.38 88,825 41.98 21,091 9.97 54,329 25.68 23,934
Australian Capital Territory 120,875 22,136 1,448 6.65 7,857 36.11 1,863 8.56 10,593 48.68 375
Northern Territory 38,209 2,951 423 14.93 1,143 40.35 413 14.58 854 30.14 118
Total 8,401,467 7,069,046 1,182,689 18.78 2,725,292 43.29 607,257 9.65 1,780,747 28.28 773,061

Discussion[edit]

Prior to 1974 "God Save the Queen" was Australia's national anthem. In 1974 the Whitlam government performed a nationwide opinion survey, conducted through the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to determine the song to be sung on occasions of national significance. "Advance Australia Fair" was chosen and was enshrined as the national song, to be used on all occasions excepting those of a specifically regal nature.

In January 1976 the Fraser government reinstated "God Save the Queen" for royal, vice-regal, defence and loyal toast occasions, and made plans to conduct a national poll to find a song for use on ceremonial occasions when it was desired to mark a separate Australian identity.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Electoral Pocketbook (includes 2004 federal election results) (June 2005) Media and Communication Section. Australian Electoral Commission. Kingston, ACT. ISBN 0-9752279-7-1
  2. ^ "Plebiscite results 1977". Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia for the 42nd Parliament: Referendums and Plebiscites. Commonwealth of Australia: Parliamentary Library. 10 June 2003. Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2008.