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

YearBills PresentedActs PassedNum PlebescitesNum ReferendaTotal Cum Acts
190128170017
190223210038
190327210059
190422150074
1905332600100
1906422301123
1907291200135
1908292700162
1909382900191
1910504102232
1911302902261
1912524300304
1913372406328
1914543600364
1915625300417
1916454110458
1917404010498
1918504700545
1919373202577
1920665600633
1921494300676
1922474200718
1923523600754
1924636100815
1925353200847
1926565202899
1927503800937
1928474801985
19294335001020
19308978001098
19317356001154
19328076001230
19337774001304
19347267001371
19357673001444
19369994001538
19375447021585
19389178001663
19399187001750
194010199001849
19417370001919
19426158001977
19435958002035
19444846012081
19456059002140
19468481032221
19479493002314
19489693012407
19498887002494
19508780002574
19518582012656
1952111109002765
19539996002861
19548583002944
19557171003015
1956114113003128
1957119103003231
195810183003314
1959105104003418
1960115111003529
19619998003627
1962112108003735
1963103103003838
1964135130003968
1965158156004124
19669493004217
1967133124024341
1968169157004498
1969101102004600
1970154127004727
1971148138004865
1972146139005004
1973253221025225
1974226166045391
1975215121005512
1976230209005721
1977164161145882
1978224211006093
1979196191006284
1980205177006461
1981202182006643
1982196158006801
1983170147006948
1984192175027123
1985234202007325
1986189168007493
1987211184007677
1988210155047832
1989194183008015
1990185144008159
1991205216008375
1992282264008639
1993184121008760
1994197184008944
1995176176009120
199617384009204
1997235222009426
1998218135009561
1999224201029762
2000192174009936
20011801700010106
20022541480010254
20031741500010404
20042231580010562
20051821640010726
20061881720010898
20071681840011082
20082031590011241
20092261360011377
20102211500011527
20112381900011717
20122102060011923
20132031480012071
20142221350012206
20152081770012383
201670540012437

 

Bills vs Acts Passed

Legislative Data Since Federation

Legislative Data Since Federation