We don’t use plebiscites much – But I didn’t realise how little

I don’t support the idea of using a plebiscite to determine the legislative outcome for Same Sex Marriage.  I’ve argued this elsewhere, but one reason is that this isn’t a tool that we have any history of using.  It’s an extra-constitutional process that has no binding outcome on the voting of our parliamentary representatives.

To see how little this mechanism has been used, I did some research on legislative output since Federation.  You can see the results below

a total of 12,437 bills passed by both Houses, given Royal Assent and proclaimed as Acts of Parliament, with 3 Plebiscites in total since Federation.

All in all, our governments felt the need to go to the people in this way on only 0.024% of total bills ever passed

Legislative Data

Bills, Acts, Plebiscites and Referenda by Year

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Bills vs Acts Passed

Legislative Data Since Federation

Legislative Data Since Federation