The Australian Government, over 45 federal parliaments, has achieved much. Often the initiatives that emanate from the parliamentary chambers in Canberra are evidence of advanced social, economic, financial and even scientific thinking. We are the holders of many world firsts.
So much of this has been achieved through normal parliamentary process: the debating of bills brought on not only by the government in the House of Representatives, but by the Senate and Private Members themselves. Over the life of the Federation since 1901, the Australian Parliament has enacted 12,437 bills up to about the middle of 2016. Of course this doesn’t count the number of initiatives that were decided by administrative means, or even Ministerial discretion.
You know how many of those were the result of a plebiscite? Just one. A single plebiscite (one of 3 in the history of federation) that selected “Advance Australia Fair” in 1977. There were two others, in 1916 and 1917, to determine whether to introduce conscription for military service in World War 1, but these were both rejected.
Here is a list of some important initiatives put into effect by the Government of Australia – it’s just a few and I’m sure I’m missing some.
But keep in mind: only one of these occurred as the result of a plebiscite.
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