|Outcome||Proposal rejected due to gaining a majority in only 2 of the 6 states.|
The Constitution Alteration (Terms of Senators) Bill 1984, was the third unsuccessful proposal to alter the Australian Constitution to require that Senate of Australia and House of Representatives elections be constitutionally enforced to occur on the same day. It was put to voters for approval in a referendum held on 1 December 1984.
This was the first referendum in which the electors in the territories were counted towards the national total (but not counted toward any state total) following the 1977 Australian referendum (Referendums) which enabled this.
A proposal for simultaneous elections had been unsuccessful at the referendum in 1974 and substantially the same proposal was again unsuccessful at the referendum in 1977. One of the criticisms of these proposals was that despite the title, the proposal did not require simultaneous elections and the real change which was so that the terms of Senators would be two terms of the House of Representatives. This proposal was similar, however, it was expressly named in relation to the terms of senators.
The yes case was that there were too many elections and the proposal would decrease the number of elections.
The no case was that the proposal was unnecessary. If the government wanted fewer elections, the House of Representatives could run its full term and the elections would be held at the same time. The proposal was an attempt to undermine the independence of the senate.
An Act to change the terms of senators so that they are no longer of fixed duration and to provide that Senate elections and House of Representatives elections are always held on the same day.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?
|State||Electoral roll||Ballots issued||For||Against||Informal|
|New South Wales||3,423,624||3,216,256||1,621,894||52.86||1,446,150||47.14||148,212|
|Australian Capital Territory||150,416||140,982||76,901||56.68||58,764||43.32||5,317|
|Total for Commonwealth||9,866,266||9,279,044||4,473,715||50.64||4,361,504||49.36||443,825|
|Results||Obtained a majority in two states and an overall majority of 112,211 votes. Not carried|
This was the third unsuccessful referendum that sought to require simultaneous elections of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
|Question||NSW||Vic||Qld||SA||WA||Tas||ACT ||NT ||States in favour||Voters in favour||Result|
|(29) 1974 Simultaneous Elections||51.1%||49.2%||44.3%||47.1%||44.1%||41.4%||—||—||1:5||48.3%||Not carried|
|(33) 1977 Simultaneous Elections||70.7%||65.0%||47.5%||66.0%||48.5%||34.3%||—||—||3:3||62.2%||Not carried|
|(37) 1984 Terms of Senators||52.9%||53.2%||45.7%||50.0%||46.5%||39.3%||56.7%||51.9%||2:4||50.6%||Not carried|
|(39) 1988 Parliamentary Terms||31.7%||36.2%||35.2%||26.8%||30.7%||25.3%||43.6%||38.1%||0:6||32.9%||Not carried|
- Constitution Alteration (Terms of Senators) Bill 1984 (Cth).
- "Elections move: Title of bill a fraud: Snedden". The Canberra Times. 15 November 1973. p. 13. Retrieved 22 October 2021 – via Trove.
- Information and Research Service (29 June 1984). "Bills Digest 1984: Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) 1984" (PDF). Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
- Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (24 March 1997). "Part 2 - History of Australian Referendums" (PDF). Select sources on constitutional change in Australia 1901-1997. Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0644484101.
- Handbook of the 44th Parliament (2014) "Part 5 - Referendums and Plebiscites - Referendum results". Parliamentary Library of Australia.
- Following the 1977 referendum, votes cast in the territories count towards the national total, but are not counted toward any state total.