1913 Australian referendum (Monopolies)

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The Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1912,[1] was an unsuccessful Australian referendum held in the 1913 referendums which sought to alter the Australian Constitution to give the Commonwealth legislative power in respect to monopolies.



Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled 'Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) 1912'?

The proposal was to alter the text of section 51 of the Constitution to read as follows:[2]

51a. (1) When each House of the Parliament, in the same session, has by resolution, passed by an absolute majority of its members, declared that the industry or business of producing, manufacturing, or supplying any specified services, is the subject of a monopoly, the Parliament shall have power to make laws for carrying on the industry or business by or under the control of the Commonwealth, and acquiring for that purpose on just terms any property used in connexion with the industry or business.

(2) This section shall not apply to any industry or business conducted or carried on by the Government of a State or any public authority constituted under a State.


The referendum was not approved by a majority of voters, and a majority of the voters was achieved in only three states.[3][4]

State | On rolls Ballots issued For Against Informal Result
% %
New South Wales 1,036,187 717,855 301,192 46.85 341,724 53.15 73,683 No
Victoria 830,391 626,861 287,379 49.07 298,326 50.93 40,828 No
Queensland 363,082 280,525 139,019 54.17 117,609 45.83 23,676 Yes
South Australia 244,026 195,463 91,411 51.26 86,915 48.74 16,920 Yes
Western Australia 179,784 132,149 64,988 53.19 57,184 46.81 9,644 Yes
Tasmania 106,746 80,398 33,176 45.22 40,189 54.78 6,907 No
Total for Commonwealth 2,760,216 2,033,251 917,165 49.33 941,947 50.67 171,658 No
Obtained majority in three States and an overall minority of 24,782 votes.
Not carried


The 1911 referendum asked a single question that dealt with the acquisition of monopolies. This resolution separated laws in relation to monopolies and the acquisition of monopolies into different questions. Like its forebear, neither resolution was carried. On each of the many occasions a similar question was asked at a referendum the public decided not to vest power in the Commonwealth over these matters.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1912". Retrieved 22 April 2019 – via legislation.gov.au.
  2. ^ "Notification of the receipt of a Writ for a Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (30). 25 April 1913. pp. 1097–9 – via www.legislation.gov.au..
  3. ^ "Result of the Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (55). 2 August 1913. p. 1792 – via www.legislation.gov.au..
  4. ^ a b Handbook of the 44th Parliament (2014) "Part 5 - Referendums and Plebiscites - Referendum results". Parliamentary Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017..

Further reading[edit]