Senate Inquiry Recommendations 2009

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2008

15 June 2009


The Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill was introduced into the Senate by Senator Bob Brown (Greens, Tas) on 11 November 2008.  On 13 November 2008, the bill was referrred to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration by the Selection of Bills Committee. It was due to report by 10 March 2009, later extended to 15 June 2009.

The reasons for the referral were:

“The issue of Australia becoming a republic is an extremely important one for the Australian Parliament and public.  It is important that the process by which this issue is progressed now has appropriate public input and is properly scrutinised and debated.”

The bill provided for a plebiscite to be held to give the people an opportunity to vote on whether Australia should be a republic.  It sets out one simple question:  Do you support Australia becoming a republic? It requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

The purpose of the bill was to:

– require a plebiscite on whether Australia should become a republic in order to ensure that the people have the opportunity to vote this matter

– provide a simple yes or no question, setting out the words that the electors would vote on

– specify that the plebiscite would be held in conjunction with the next House of Representatives election.


1. The committee recommends the establishment of an ongoing public awareness campaign on Australia’s constitutional system which engages as wide a range of the public as possible

2. The committee recommends that if any further process advocating constitutional change is undertaken, including that of a republic, it seek to encourage Australians to engage meaningfully in the debate.