Skip to main content
  • Day 1240 of the war
  • The second conscription referendum is held in Australia. The referendum is resoundingly defeated, with an extra 21,000 people voting NO than in the first referendum held in 1916. Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory vote in support of conscription; the remaining states against. The referenda spark bitter debate about the merits and dangers of conscription, dividing Australia politically and socially. The decisive defeat of the second referendum closes the issue of conscription for the remainder of the war. When Australia voted no to war: the 1916-17 conscription referenda

East is East and West is West cartoon commenting on the result of the conscription referendum held 20 December 1917. Image courtesy State Library of Western Australia.