Australian referendum, 1910 (Surplus Revenue)

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The Constitution Alteration (Finance) 1909 was an Australian referendum which sought to alter the Australian Constitution to amend section 87 (the 'Braddon Clause') which was due to lapse in 1910. It was to add to the Constitution a financial agreement reached between the States and the Commonwealth to replace the section.

The referendum was held in the Australian referendum, 1910 in conjunction with the State Debts referendum, which received a Yes vote in 5 states and was carried. The referendums were held on the same day as the 1910 federal election, which Alfred Deakin's Commonwealth Liberal Party lost to Andrew Fisher's Labour Party, with Fisher being sworn in as Prime Minister on 29 April.

Question[edit]

Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled 'Constitution Alteration (Finance) 1909'?

The proposal was to alter the text of the Constitution to read as follows:[1]

87. During a period of ten years after the establishment of the Commonwealth and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides, of the net revenue of the Commonwealth from duties of customs and of excise not more than one - fourth shall be applied annually by the Commonwealth towards its expenditure.

The balance shall, in accordance with. this Constitution, be paid to the several States, or applied towards the payment of interest on debts of the several States taken over by the Commonwealth.

87a. (1.) Notwithstanding anything in section eighty seven of this Constitution, the Commonwealth may in the year beginning on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and nine, out of the net revenue of the Commonwealth from duties of customs and of excise, apply towards its expenditure for the service of that year any sum not exceeding Six hundred thousand pounds over and above one-fourth Of the said net revenue.

(2.) From and after the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and ten, section eighty seven of this Constitution shall cease to have effect.

93. During the first five Years after the imposition of uniform duties of customs, and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides

(i.) The duties of customs chargeable on goods imported into a State and afterwards passing into another State for consumption, and the duties of excise paid on goods produced or manufactured in a State and afterwards passing into another State for consumption, shall be taken to have been collected not in the former but in the latter State :
(ii.) Subject to the last sub - section, the Commonwealth shall credit revenue, debit expenditure, and pay balances to the several States as prescribed for the period preceding the imposition of uniform duties of customs.

94. After five years from the imposition of uniform duties of customs, the Parliament may provide, on such basis as it deems fair, for the monthly payment to the several States of all surplus revenue of the Commonwealth.

94a. From and after the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and ten, sections ninety three and ninety four of this Constitution shall cease to have effect.

94b. From and after the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and ten, the Commonwealth shall pay to each State, by monthly instalments, or apply to the payment of interest on debts of the State taken over by the Commonwealth, an annual sum amounting to Twenty five shillings per head of the number of the people of the State as ascertained according to the laws of the Commonwealth.

94c. (1.) The Commonwealth shall, during the period of twenty five years beginning on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and ten, pay to the State of Western Australia, by monthly instalments, an annual sum which in the first year shall be two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and in each subsequent year shall be progressively diminished by the sum of ten thousand. pounds.

(2.) One half of the amount of the payments so made shall be debited to all the States (including the State of Western Australia) in proportion to the number of their people as ascertained according to the laws of the Commonwealth, and any sum so debited to a State may be deducted by the Commonwealth from any amounts payable to the State under the last preceding section or this section.

l05. The Parliament may take over from the States their public debts as existing at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or a proportion thereof according to the respective numbers of their people as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, and may convert, renew, or consolidate such debts, or any part thereof; and the States shall indemnify the Commonwealth in respect of the debts taken over, and thereafter the interest payable in respect of the debts shall be deducted and retained from the portions of the surplus revenue of the Commonwealth payable to the several States, or if such surplus is insufficient, or if there is no surplus, then the deficiency or the whole amount shall be paid by the several. States;

The interest and charges 'payable by the Commonwealth, in respect of the debts of a State taken over, may be deducted and retained from any moneys payable to the State under this Constitution, and shall, to the extent to which they are not so deducted and retained,' be paid by the State to the Commonwealth.

Results[edit]

The referendum was not approved by a majority of voters, and a majority of the voters was achieved in only three states.[2][3]

Result
State On

rolls

Ballots

issued

For Against Informal Result
 %  %
New South Wales 834,662 512,802 227,650 47.35% 253,107 52.65% 31,411 No
Victoria 703,699 468,535 200,165 45.26% 242,119 54.74% 24,299 No
Queensland 279,031 170,634 87,130 54.58% 72,516 45.42% 9,489 Yes
South Australia 207,655 110,503 49,352 49.06% 51,250 50.94% 9,679 No
Western Australia 134,979 83,893 49,050 61.74% 30,392 38.26% 3,890 Yes
Tasmania 98,456 57,609 32,167 59.99% 21,454 40.01% 3,669 Yes
Total for Commonwealth 2,258,482 1,403,976 645,514 49.04% 670,838 50.96% 82,437 No
Obtained majority in three States and an overall minority of 25,324 votes.
Not carried

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Notification of the receipt of a Writ for a Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (15). 1 March 1910. pp. 666–7 – via www.legislation.gov.au. .
  2. ^ "Result of the Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (38). 3 June 1910. pp. 1157–8 – via www.legislation.gov.au. .
  3. ^ Handbook of the 44th Parliament "Part 5 - Referendums and Plebiscites - Referendum results". Parliamentary Library of Australia. 1 August 2014. .

Further reading[edit]