Banner

Movements against Communism 1951–4

What happened in the 1951 referendum?

  • Few prime ministers would choose to hold a referendum if they were not reasonably confident that it would produce the outcome that they desired. What reasons did Menzies have for believing that he would win the 1951 referendum to ban the Communist Party of Australia (pp 170–2)? Support your response with specific evidence.
  • Why was the Catholic Church so opposed to communism?
  • Menzies saw the key issue in the referendum as communism, but many supporters of the 'No' case said that it was not primarily about communism. What was the basis of the 'No' case? (Provide quotes from the 'No' side to support your view.)

Introduction | Why was communism feared? | Timeline of key events in the campaign against communism | What was the Communist Party Dissolution Bill? | What happened in the 1951 referendum? | Why did the Labor Party split? | Assessment tasks and Additional resources