Australian referendum, 1988

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The 1988 Australian Referendum was held on 3 September, 1988. It contained four referendum questions, none of which passed. The failure was generally attributed to the open ended and nondescriptive wording of the proposed amendments.[citation needed]

Results [1]
Question NSW Vic Qld SA WA Tas ACT [2] NT [2] States in favour Voters in favour Result
(39) Parliamentary Terms No No No No No No No No 0:6 33% Not carried
(40) Fair Elections No No No No No No Yes No 0:6 38% Not carried
(41) Local Government No No No No No No No No 0:6 34% Not carried
(42) Rights and Freedoms No No No No No No No No 0:6 31% Not carried

Parliamentary Terms[edit]

Constitution Alteration (Parliamentary Terms) 1988 was a proposal put to referendum in the Australian referendum, 1988. It proposed to alter the Australian constitution such that Senate terms be reduced from six to four years, and House of Representative terms be increased from three years to four years. It also proposed for the fourth time that Senate and House elections occur simultaneously.

Question and Results[1]

A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to provide for 4 year maximum terms for members of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

State On rolls Ballots issued Yes % No % Informal
New South Wales 3,564,856 3,297,246 1,032,621 31.66% 2,228,503 68.34% 36,122
Victoria 2,697,096 2,491,183 886,128 36.20% 1,561,759 63.80% 43,296
Queensland 1,693,247 1,542,293 538,779 35.15% 993,822 64.85% 9,692
South Australia 937,974 873,511 229,938 26.76% 629,454 73.24% 14,119
Western Australia 926,636 845,209 255,556 30.67% 577,555 69.33% 12,098
Tasmania 302,324 282,785 70,698 25.34% 208,297 74.66% 3,790
Australian Capital Territory 166,131 149,128 64,458 43.62% 83,328 56.38% 1,342
Northern Territory 74,695 56,370 21,092 38.13% 34,222 61.87% 1,056
Total for Commonwealth 10,362,959 9,537,725 3,099,270 32.91% 6,316,940 67.09% 121,515

Obtained majority in no State and an overall minority of 3,217,670 votes. Not carried.

Fair Elections[edit]

Constitution Alteration (Fair Elections) 1988 proposed to enshrine in the Constitution of Australia a guarantee that all Commonwealth, State and Territory elections would be conducted democratically. The question was put to a referendum in the Australian referendum, 1988. The main aim of the question was to enshrine the One vote, one value principle in the Constitution.

This referendum question came about due to the widespread malapportionment and gerrymandering which was endemic during Joh Bjelke-Petersen's term as the Queensland Premier. It was opposed by both the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia.

Question and Results[1]

A proposed law: is to alter the Constitution to provide for fair and democratic parliamentary elections throughout Australia.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

State On rolls Ballots issued Yes % No % Informal
New South Wales 3,564,856 3,297,246 1,159,713 35.57% 2,100,604 64.43% 36,929
Victoria 2,697,096 2,491,183 981,508 40.12% 1,465,119 59.88% 44,556
Queensland 1,693,247 1,542,293 686,765 44.81% 845,767 55.19% 9,761
South Australia 937,974 873,511 263,006 30.61% 596,102 69.39% 14,403
Western Australia 926,636 845,209 266,639 32.02% 566,145 67.98% 12,425
Tasmania 302,324 282,785 80,608 28.89% 198,372 71.11% 3,805
Australian Capital Territory 166,131 149,128 76,815 51.99% 70,937 48.01% 1,376
Northern Territory 74,695 56,370 23,763 42.99% 31,512 57.01% 1,095
Total for Commonwealth 10,362,959 9,537,725 3,538,817 37.59% 5,874,558 62.41% 124,350

Obtained majority in no State and an overall minority of 2,335,741 votes. Not carried.

Local Government[edit]

The Australian Constitution recognises Government at Federal and State levels, but makes no mention of local government. Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 1988 proposed to alter the constitution so as to recognise local government. The proposal was put to a referendum in the Australian referendum, 1988.

A similar proposal was made in the Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013, but that proposal was not submitted to a referendum.

The "no" campaign in 1988 argued that this change would undermine States' rights, i.e. that it would move - or make it possible to move - some power from State Governments to Local Governments.

Question and Results[1]

A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to recognise local government.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

State On rolls Ballots issued Yes % No % Informal
New South Wales 3,564,856 3,297,246 1,033,364 31.70% 2,226,529 68.30% 37,353
Victoria 2,697,096 2,491,183 882,020 36.06% 1,563,957 63.94% 45,206
Queensland 1,693,247 1,542,293 586,942 38.31% 945,333 61.69% 10,018
South Australia 937,974 873,511 256,421 29.85% 602,499 70.15% 14,591
Western Australia 926,636 845,209 247,830 29.76% 584,863 70.24% 12,516
Tasmania 302,324 282,785 76,707 27.50% 202,214 72.50% 3,864
Australian Capital Territory 166,131 149,128 58,755 39.78% 88,945 60.22% 1,428
Northern Territory 74,695 56,370 21,449 38.80% 33,826 61.20% 1,095
Total for Commonwealth 10,362,959 9,537,725 3,163,488 33.61% 6,248,166 66.39% 126,071

Obtained majority in no State and an overall minority of 3,084,678 votes. Not carried.

Rights and Freedoms[edit]

The Constitution Alteration (Rights and Freedoms) 1988 was proposed legislation that was put to referendum in the Australian referendum, 1988. The legislation sought to enshrine in the Australian constitution various civil rights, including freedom of religion, rights in relation to trials, and rights regarding the compulsory acquisition of property.

The "religious freedom" part of the proposed change was opposed by many churches and religious-affiliated schools concerned that it would be interpreted as requiring a level of church-state separation that would put public funding and government assistance for faith schools in jeopardy.

Conversely, Liberal senator Richard Alston argued that the aforementioned provision could place the use of corporal punishment in religious schools beyond the power of the government to regulate.[3]

A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to extend the right to trial by jury, to extend freedom of religion, and to ensure fair terms for persons whose property is acquired by any government.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

State On rolls Ballots issued Yes % No % Informal
New South Wales 3,564,856 3,297,246 965,045 29.65% 2,289,645 70.35% 42,556
Victoria 2,697,096 2,491,183 816,057 33.42% 1,625,484 66.58% 49,642
Queensland 1,693,247 1,542,293 503,217 32.88% 1,027,218 67.12% 11,858
South Australia 937,974 873,511 223,038 26.01% 634,438 73.99% 16,035
Western Australia 926,636 845,209 233,917 28.14% 597,322 71.86% 13,970
Tasmania 302,324 282,785 70,987 25.49% 207,486 74.51% 4,312
Australian Capital Territory 166,131 149,128 60,064 40.71% 87,460 59.29% 1,604
Northern Territory 74,695 56,370 20,503 37.14% 34,699 62.86% 1,168
Total for Commonwealth 10,362,959 9,537,725 2,892,828 30.79% 6,503,752 69.21% 141,145

Obtained majority in no State and an overall minority of 3,610,924 votes. Not carried.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Handbook of the 44th Parliament (2014) "Part 5 - Referendums and Plebiscites - Referendum results". Parliamentary Library of Australia. .
  2. ^ a b Following the 1977 referendum, votes cast in the territories count towards the national total, but would not be counted toward any state total.
  3. ^ http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp9900/2000RP02#

Further reading[edit]