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Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2010

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2010

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2010

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Bob Brown



 

Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2010

This bill was introduced by the Australian Greens in the 42 nd Parliament. The following explanatory memorandum reflects the debate at the time of the bill’s original introduction.

General Outline

The purpose of the Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2010 is to require a plebiscite on whether Australia should become a republic in order to ensure that the Australian people have the opportunity to vote on Australia becoming a republic. The Bill provides for a simple yes or no question. An issue put before the electorate which does not effect the Constitution is called an advisory referendum or a plebiscite. Governments can hold advisory referendums to test whether people either support or oppose a proposed action on an issue.

Provisions

The main provisions in the Bill are as follows:

Clauses 1 - 3

These provisions deal with the commencement of the Act and with the interpretations of key definitions in the Act.

 

Clause 4

This provision sets out the date on which the plebiscite will be held. It specifies that the plebiscite will be held in conjunction with the next House of Representatives election.

Clause 5

This provision sets out the words of the question which the electors will vote on.

Clause 6

Clause 6 provides that the process for holding the plebiscite would follow, as nearly as practicable, the normal process for a referendum under the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 .

Financial Impact

It is difficult to estimate the precise cost of holding a plebiscite. It is clear that there is a substantial financial benefit in running a referendum in conjunction with a federal election.

The last time a referendum was run in conjunction with a federal election was in 1984. The cost then was $4 million for the referendum out of a total election cost of $31.7million.

Based on figures from the 2004 federal election, which are the latest available, the financial impact of holding a plebiscite in conjunction with the next federal election will be approximately $10.5 million.