Public companies can be registered limited by shares, or limited by guarantee.
Shares are a unit of ownership providing the shareholder with equity in the company. Shares in a public company can be sold to the general public. Each share in a class of shares in a public company must have the same rights to dividends as each other. Public companies limited by shares are generally used by businesses who are seeking fund raising from the general public, or by companies with over 50 shareholders (as they are not allowed to be a private company per ASIC’s rules).
Public companies limited by guarantee (or LBGs) do not have a share capital or shareholders but instead the members act as guarantors. The members agree to pay a nominal amount in the event of the winding up of the company known as the members guarantee. LBGs are used by organisations such as recreational clubs, cultural communities and charitable organisations in Australia.