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Examples of Successful Referendums

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​1946 Social Services Referendum

The 1946 referendum proposed to give the Commonwealth power to legislate on:

The provision of maternity allowances, widows' pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorise an form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances.

Section 51 (xxiiiA)

All States supported the proposal and it marked the biggest single transfer of powers from the States.  Although three propositions were put in this referendum, only the one on social services was passed.

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1967 Aboriginal Referendum

In 1967, the following two proposals were put:

  • The first, referred to as the 'nexus question', was an attempt to alter the balance of numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

  • The second was to determine whether two references in the Commonwealth Constitution that prevented the Commonwealth legislating for Aboriginal people should be removed.

While the voters rejected the first question, the second question saw the highest YES vote ever recorded in a Federal referendum with all six States passing the referendum.

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