Australian referendum, 1913 (Corporations)

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Constitution Alteration (Corporations) 1912 was an Australian referendum held in the 1913 referendums which sought to alter the Australian Constitution to extend the Commonwealth legislative power in respect to corporations.



Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled "Constitution Alteration (Corporations) 1912"?

The proposal was to alter the text of section 51 of the Constitution to read as follows:[1]

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:

(xx.) Foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth:
Corporations, including
(a) the creation, dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations ;
(b) corporations formed under the law of a State, including their dissolution, regulation, and control; but not including municipal or governmental corporations, or any corporation formed solely for religious, charitable, scientific, or artistic purposes, and not for the acquisition of gain by the ,corporation or its members ; and
(c) foreign corporations, including their regulation and control :


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

State On rolls Ballots issued For Against Informal Result
 %  %
New South Wales 1,036,187 717,855 317,668 46.79 361,255 53.21 37,676 No
Victoria 830,391 626,861 298,479 49.14 308,915 50.86 19,139 No
Queensland 363,082 280,525 146,936 54.31 123,632 45.69 9,736 Yes
South Australia 244,026 195,463 96,309 51.34 91,273 48.66 7,664 Yes
Western Australia 179,784 132,149 66,595 52.84 59,445 47.16 5,776 Yes
Tasmania 106,746 80,398 34,724 45.08 42,304 54.92 3,244 No
Total for Commonwealth 2,760,216 2,033,251 960,711 49.33 986,824 50.67 83,235 No
Obtained majority in three States and an overall minority of 26,113 votes.
Not carried


The 1911 referendum asked a single question that dealt with trade and commerce, corporations and industrial matters. This resolution separated each of those matters into a different question. 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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Notification of the receipt of a Writ for a Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (30). 25 April 1913. pp. 1097–8 – via .
  2. ^ "Result of the Referendum". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (55). 2 August 1913. p. 1792 – via .
  3. ^ a b Handbook of the 44th Parliament (2014) "Part 5 - Referendums and Plebiscites - Referendum results". Parliamentary Library of Australia. .

Further reading[edit]