1913 Australian referendum (Railway Disputes)

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The Constitution Alteration (Railways Disputes) 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 over industrial relations in the State railway services. The question was put to a referendum in the 1913 Australian referendum.

Question[edit]

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

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

51. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have Legislative power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxxv.A.) Conciliation and arbitration for prevention and settlement of industrial disputes in relation to employment in the railway service of a State.

Results[edit]

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

Result
State | On rolls Ballots issued For Against Informal Result
% %
New South Wales 1,036,187 717,855 316,928 46.70 361,743 53.30 37,928 No
Victoria 830,391 626,861 296,255 48.79 310,921 51.21 19,357 No
Queensland 363,082 280,525 146,521 54.19 123,859 45.81 9,924 Yes
South Australia 244,026 195,463 96,072 51.28 91,262 48.72 7,912 Yes
Western Australia 179,784 132,149 65,957 52.38 59,965 47.62 5,894 Yes
Tasmania 106,746 80,398 34,625 45.01 42,296 54.99 3,351 No
Total for Commonwealth 2,760,216 2,033,251 956,358 49.13 990,046 50.87 84,366 No
Obtained majority in three States and an overall minority of 33,688 votes.
Not carried

Discussion[edit]

The 1911 referendum asked a single question that dealt with trade and commerce, corporations and industrial matters. This was an additional resolution that went beyond the previous proposal to directly address industrial disputes in the state railways. Like its forebear, none of these resolutions were 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Constitution Alteration (Railways Disputes) Bill". 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. 1097–8 – 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]