Australian referendum, 1951
The 1951 Australian Referendum was held on 22 September 1951 and sought approval for the federal government to ban the Communist Party of Australia. It was not carried.
In 1951 the Menzies government passed a law banning the Communist Party of Australia. The party challenged the law in the High Court, which ruled that it was constitutionally invalid. Following this defeat, the government sponsored this referendum in an attempt to overcome this constitutional obstacle. The referendum question was opposed, not surprisingly, by the Communist Party. It was also opposed by the Australian Labor Party and even the Young Liberals, on the grounds that it would restrict freedoms of speech and association.
Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled 'Constitution Alteration (Powers to deal with Communists and Communism) 1951'?
|New South Wales||1,944,219||1,861,147||865,838||47.17%||969,868||52.83%||25,441|
|Total for Commonwealth||4,974,337||4,754,589||2,317,927||49.44%||2,370,009||50.56%||66,653|
|Obtained majority in three States and an overall minority of 52 082 votes.|
* Armed forces totals are also included in their respective states.
Source: Australian Parliament - Referendum results.
- Referendum results (24) Communists and Communism at Parliament of Australia official website