About the 1999 Australian Constitutional Referendum Study (ACRS)

The 1999 Australian Constitutional Referendum Study was conducted to investigate the Australian electorate's attitudes towards the significant political issues surrounding the 1999 constitutional referendum. As part of the Australian Election Study series, the 1999 ACRS provides a perspective on the political attitudes and behaviour of the Australian public which, in turn, can be compared to those attitudes recorded at past and future electoral events.

The 1999 ACRS also functions more specifically as a means of investigating the patterns of public opinion concerning the republic and its specific features. Variables include voting preference; degree of exposure to media reporting of the Referendum; level of interest in the Referendum debate; past and present political affiliation; party voted for in the last (1998) election; evaluation of parties, politicians and key participants in the Referendum debate; views on national identity, preferred head of state and the importance of the Queen and the Royal Family to Australia; knowledge of the current role of the Queen and the Governor General and future role the President if Australia became a republic; perceived changes to powers held by the Prime Minister and the President, political stability in Australia, Australia's standing in the world, and ease of future constitutional reform; attitudes to a range of issues including unions, big business, income distribution, law enforcement, equal opportunities for migrants/women, Aboriginal land rights; and views on the preferred function of society, government and the law. Background variables include level of education, employment status, occupation, type of employer, position at workplace, trade union membership, sex, age, own and parents country of birth, parents' political preferences, religion, marital status, income, and where applicable, the occupation, trade union membership and political preference of the respondent's spouse.

The sample was based on a disproportionate stratified systematic random sample of Australian electors. The sample was stratified (disproportionately) by state/territory in order to provide at least 500 respondents from each of the six Australian states so as to facilitate separate analysis of each state. Sample units were drawn as follows: 1,000 from each of the six states (NSW, Vic, Qld, WA, SA and Tasmania), 100 from the Australian Capital Territory, and 50 from the Northern Territory. The sample of Australian electors was drawn from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll by the Australian Electoral Commission following the close of rolls for the 1999 referendum on 8 October 1999.



The ACRS Study: