Cohesion and division in Australia 1920s
Arrival of first white settlers in Australia on the assumption that Australia was “terra-nullius” (empty land) -1970s term the land was claimed to belong to the Crown (Queen of Britain) Aborigines were included in British law -British colony: British government & laws transferred to Australian soil -population: mostly British -dominant church: Anglican -convictism: affected our view of ourselves as part of the British Empire -Development of Australian nationalism By 1900: dual nationalism by late 1800s – several events/themes had influenced Australia’s development in national consciousness: 1.
Self-government 1823-1840s 2. Gold rush – 1850s -increase in wealth -development of cities/manufacturing -increase in population led to stronger drive for Australia’s nationals 3. Greater proportion of Australians born in Australia 4. Artists, writers, etc. (eg. Henry Lawson) Race: Australian attitudes toward race -white Australian policy 1901 – allowed for a “dictation test” -aimed to exclude anyone of Asian descent & Kanakas (Pacific Islanders) Note: The Bulletin – Australian newspaper Aborigines: -application of social Darwinism -thinking that they are in a lower evolved state -“the aboriginal race is doomed to die out”
Cohesion and division in Australia 1920s Essay Example
Protector of the Aborigines – one per state, government elected Profile of Australia in the 1920s: Political characteristics: -Labour party was weak and divided, destined for 10 years in opposition Identity: -connection with Britain extended to foreign policy of Australia, legally bound to Britain foreign policy -Gallipoli-ANZAC-Australia’s coming of age -we had proven our worth to Britain -national recognition -heightened Australia’s sense of security -extension of the Australian ‘myth’ thru the ANZAC legend Extent of Unity & Division: Increase in divisions- division between: 1. Men who fought vs men who stayed home 2.
Pro war & pro empire vs anti war 3. Pro conscriptionists vs anti conscriptionists 4. Anti-Irish independents (IRA army, 1916 uprising. Irish were seen as traitors/scum) vs pro-Irish -Australia was more divided than unified -industrial action by “radical” trade unionists esp. 1917 was seen by loyalists as traitorous. Politics of the 1920s: Themes/Events of the 1920s: Overall characterised by a degree of unity: -economic prosperity -migration from Britain -rapid progress in technology -putting the deprivations of war behind However division existed and sometimes dominated -Racial question -1925-1929 escalation of industrial unrest
Failure of important government schemes Politics: National/Country Party coalition -conservative -supportive of Empire -saw no reason to separate Australian foreign policy from British foreign policy -strongly convinced of the White Australian policy -White Australian policy = key to immigration policy -economic policies very conservative -balance the budget (reduce debt) -less welfare -encouraging businesses -discouraging trade union activity Labour Party -left wing -supportive of Empire, but more likely to support an independent Australian foreign policy -White Australian policy continued to be foundational to immigration
Labour saw itself as champion of the working class -Labour was affiliated with trade unions -economic policy: more likely to be progressive -more receptive to increasing welfare spending Men, Money, Markets: Men -increase population thru immigration -migrants of working age -farm workers, domestics, etc. -white, from Britain -build the economy -increase manufacturing -open up farming land -build infrastructure Money -obtaining loans from Britain to finance economic projects Markets -increase domestic market -increase trade agreements (esp. with Britain) 1901-1914 -social progress -social reform -creation of workers paradise 1920’s
Economic development -increase in wealth -more division between working class/wealthy -By 1925: social/industrial unrest 1930’s -Depression -focus on economic survival -no social reform as gov. balanced their budget -greater divisions & unrest The Downfall of the Bruce-Page Government: Government concern with trade union movement: Commonwealth (federal body) Conciliation & Arbitration Court -set minimum wages -trade union demands: -higher wages -shorter working hours -rise in number of strikes -each state had its own Arbitration system -it was the state arbitration system that was above federal system in the constitution -Bruce-Page gov.
Wanted to increase the power of the Commonwealth over the States The ALP (Australian Labour Party) was becoming more socialist – which was associated with communism -major industrial disputes eg. the Seaman’s Union -in general Australians were right there with the gov. -seen in the election -gov. elected on Australian approval of what it was trying to do -escalation of conflict between BP gov. and trade unions -gov. decided to increase commonwealth powers to get on top of it all -1928: the Commonwealth Arbitration & Conciliation Act was passed, increasing the power of the Commonwealth over the States
Lead to unity in Australia -trade unions saw it as an attack on their own power -so industrial conflict increased during 1928 &1929 -the ALP was convinced that the BP gov. was anti-union, pro-employer -1929: Coal miner’s Strike -owners tried to cut production by lowering wages -engaged in lockout-employers shut the gates until workers agreed with their demands -is illegal, not fair action -however, the court didn’t punish them – the gov. was therefore interpreted as bias towards employers -Maritime Industries Bill -ultimately led to the downfall of the BP gov.
Billy Hughes moved to delay the introduction of the bill -Bruce called another election -lost terribly -his party lost & he lost his own seat -he was associated with a lot of industrial conflict -end of a long period of stable growth Bruce-Page Government Assessment: Positive: -presided over a period of strong economic growth: men, money, markets -financial agreement act -agriculture-opened up land -CSIRO -guaranteed market return -immigration Negative: -Migration schemes (group settlements) -poor management/executed -could not solve the industrial unrest of the late 1920s -debt