A Brief History of Australia


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2006 — Menulog founded

Due to the closing-time rush, drinks can no longer be served through a window. Out go the billiard tables and in comes the long bar, plus tiled walls for easy cleaning. There is much competition to have the longest bar. Institutions such as the NRMA and leagues clubs will benefit greatly from this special treatment. A referendum in Victoria to extend the closing hours is defeated. After six months the law is passed and Adelaide loses its reputation as a wowser city.

July After the successful return of the moon landing astronauts, mission controllers light up celebratory cigars.

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Politics of the unmentionables, part 2: A brief history of legal drugs in modern Australia

Many soldiers in the Vietnam War tuck a pack of cigarettes under a T-shirt sleeve, or clip one to their helmet. Illegal drug use also surges on the battlefront and the home front. The Labor Government under Gough Whitlam introduces bans on radio and TV tobacco advertising, to be phased in between and Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser sees the bans through to completion. Passive smoking starts to receive public and media attention. Taxes on booze and cigs will become regular features of the annual federal budget. Other departments and workplaces follow.

Ads featuring the Marlboro Man and the crocodile man, Paul Hogan, begin to disappear. The advertising rules, combined with rising taxes and comprehensive education, start to turn the tide on smoking. Both major parties continue to take donations from Big Tobacco. Measures include widespread alcohol bans and exemptions from the Racial Discrimination Act A Labor candidate experiences a boost in the opinion polls after being exposed for having made an intoxicated visit to a New York strip club. This is a remarkable achievement in public policy and community wellbeing — the result of an integrated approach over a long period and with bipartisan support.

August The Bipartisan Senate Committee on medicinal cannabis produces a unanimous report recommending that a Bill be passed allowing medicinal cannabis products to be made available in Australia subject to our international obligations. February : After further toing and froing, the Liberal federal government and the Labor opposition agree on historic amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act, which are also welcomed by Richard Di Natale of the Australian Greens.

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April Victoria becomes the first state to legalise medicinal cannabis. Other states will follow suit. August Victoria bans smoking in outdoor dining areas. Former PM Tony Abbott confesses to falling asleep after a drinking session and missing key votes while in opposition in The Australian Hotels Association Victoria, a powerful interest group and significant donor to both parties, supports the change. February Smoking, high alcohol consumption and at-risk drinking remain challenges to closing the life expectancy gap for Indigenous Australians.

Only two of the seven Closing the Gap targets are on track — despite a decade of bipartisanship. March Ferrari drops tobacco from its branding ahead of the Melbourne Grand Prix. In a different but related sphere, the Geelong Football Club shows leadership by banning gambling advertising on its LED signage and scoreboard. Laws against tobacco advertising and passive smoking are important examples. Legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are also major causes of death and preventable disease. The politics of drugs continue to divide groups and even families.

More bipartisanship, plus effective community action, is needed if we are to cut the toll of legal and illegal drugs. Scott Hamilton and Stuart Kells are Melbourne-based authors, researchers and policy advisers. They are researching the history of bipartisanship in Australia. Though the various parliaments of Australia have been constantly evolving, the key foundations for elected parliamentary government have maintained an historical continuity in Australia from the s into the 21st century.

By the late s, a majority of people living in the Australian colonies were native born, although over 90 per cent were of British and Irish heritage. Identifying strongly with family and mates , Kelly was opposed to what he regarded as oppression by Police and powerful Squatters. Almost mirroring the Australian stereotype later defined by historian Russel Ward , Kelly became "a skilled bushman, adept with guns, horses and fists and winning admiration from his peers in the district".

The origins of distinctly Australian painting is often associated with this period and the Heidelberg School of the s—s. Like the European Impressionists, they painted in the open air. These artists found inspiration in the unique light and colour which characterises the Australian bush. Their most recognised work involves scenes of pastoral and wild Australia, featuring the vibrant, even harsh colours of Australian summers. Australian literature was equally developing a distinct voice. Views of Australia at times conflicted—Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the nature of life in Australia: Lawson a republican socialist derided Paterson as a romantic, while Paterson a country born city lawyer thought Lawson full of doom and gloom.

Paterson wrote the lyrics of the much-loved folksong Waltzing Matilda in Dennis wrote of laconic heroes in the Australian vernacular, while McKellar rejected a love of England's pleasant pastures in favour of what she termed a "Sunburnt Country" in her iconic poem: My Country A common theme throughout the nationalist art, music and writing of the late 19th century was the romantic rural or bush myth , ironically produced by one of the most urbanised societies in the world.

While bush ballads evidenced distinctively Australian popular medium of music and of literature, Australian artists of a more classical mould—such as the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba , and painters John Peter Russell and Rupert Bunny —prefigured the 20th-century expatriate Australians who knew little of 'stockyard and rails' but would travel abroad to influence Western art and culture. Despite suspicion from some sections of the colonial community especially in smaller colonies about the value of nationhood, improvements in inter-colonial transport and communication, including the linking of Perth to the south eastern cities by telegraph in , [] helped break down inter-colonial rivalries.

Amid calls from London for the establishment of an intercolonial Australian army, and with the various colonies independently constructing railway lines, New South Wales Premier Henry Parkes addressed a rural audience in his Tenterfield Oration , stating that the time had come to form a national executive government: "Australia [now has] a population of three and a half millions, and the American people numbered only between three and four millions when they formed the great commonwealth of the United States.

The numbers were about the same, and surely what the Americans had done by war, the Australians could bring about in peace, without breaking the ties that held them to the mother country. Though Parkes would not live to see it, his vision would be achieved within a little over a decade, and he is remembered as the "father of federation". Increasing nationalism, a growing sense of national identity, improvements in transport and communications, as well as fears about immigration and defence all combined to encourage the movement, spurred on by organisations like the Australian Natives' Association.

Despite the growing calls for unification, loyalties to the British Empire remained strong.

At a Federation Conference banquet in , Henry Parkes spoke of blood-kinship linking the colonies to Britain and a "race" for whom "the purpose of settling new countries has never had its equal on the face of the earth" []. In , representatives of the six colonies and New Zealand had met in Melbourne and called for the union of the colonies and for the colonial legislatures to nominate representatives to attend a constitutional convention. The following year, the National Australasian Convention was held in Sydney, with all the future states and New Zealand represented.

The delegates returned to their parliaments with the Bill, but progress was slow, as Australia faced its s economic Depression. Nevertheless, by five of the colonies elected representatives for a second Convention , which was conducted in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne over the space of a year, allowing time for consultation. Queensland and Western Australia later moved to do the same, though New Zealand did not participate in the Convention. In July , the Bill was put to a series of referenda in four colonies, but New South Wales rejected the proposal.

In , a second referendum put an amended Bill to the voters of the four colonies and Queensland, and the Bill was endorsed. In March , delegates were dispatched to London, where approval for the Bill was sought from the Imperial Parliament.

A History of Australia

The Bill was put to the House of Commons and passed on 5 July and, soon after, was signed into law by Queen Victoria. Lord Hopetoun was dispatched from London, tasked with appointing an interim Cabinet to oversee the foundation of the Commonwealth and conduct of the first elections. There was a more radical vision for a separate Australia by some colonists, including writer Henry Lawson , trade unionist William Lane and as found in the pages of the Sydney Bulletin. But by the end of , and after much colonial debate, the citizens of five of the six Australian colonies had voted in referendums in favour of a constitution to form a Federation.

Western Australia voted to join in July From that point a system of federalism in Australia came into operation, entailing the establishment of an entirely new national government the Commonwealth government and an ongoing division of powers between that government and the States. Labor declared it would offer support to the party which offered concessions and Edmund Barton 's Protectionists formed a government, with Alfred Deakin as Attorney-General. Barton promised to "create a high court, He proposed to extend conciliation and arbitration, create a uniform railway gauge between the eastern capitals, [] to introduce female federal franchise, to establish a The Labor Party the spelling "Labour" was dropped in had been established in the s, after the failure of the Maritime and Shearer's strikes.

Its strength was in the Australian Trade Union movement "which grew from a membership of just under , in to more than half a million in ". As noted by the historian Ross McMullin , "In the national sphere Labor had taken the Protectionists as far in the direction of progressive legislation as possible. In Western Australia, Forrest introduced a conciliation and arbitration bill in which brought trade unions into the state's social fabric for the first time. In addition, WA Labor scored another victory with the passage of legislation which extended workers' compensation.

Under the premierships of Storey and Dooley in New South Wales, various reforms were carried out such as the establishment of the Rural Bank and the elimination of high school fees. The Labor Party's rising support at elections, together with its formation of federal government in under Chris Watson , and again in , helped to unify competing conservative, free market and liberal anti-socialists into the Commonwealth Liberal Party in Although this party dissolved in , a successor to its version of "liberalism" in Australia which in some respects comprises an alliance of Millsian liberals and Burkian conservatives united in support for individualism and opposition to socialism can be found in the modern Liberal Party.

The Immigration Restriction Act was one of the first laws passed by the new Australian parliament. This centrepiece of the 'White Australia Policy' aimed to restrict immigration from Asia especially China , where the population was vastly greater and the standard of living vastly lower and was similar to measures taken in other settler societies such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand. While the law allowed for the use of any European language, the English version was standardised and became known as the "Stewart" test after the Federal MP Stewart Parnaby who originally penned the exam.

A few politicians spoke of the need to avoid hysterical treatment of the question. But there is obligation The law passed both houses of Parliament and remained a central feature of Australia's immigration laws until abandoned in the s. In the s, the Lyons government unsuccessfully attempted to exclude Egon Erwin Kisch , a German Czechoslovakian communist author from entering Australia, by means of a 'dictation test' in Scottish Gaelic.

Concerns emerged that the law could be used for such political purposes. Before , units of soldiers from all six Australian colonies had been active as part of British forces in the Boer War. When the British government asked for more troops from Australia in early , the Australian government obliged with a national contingent. Some 16, men had volunteered for service by the war's end in June Australians saw themselves in time of war a lonely, sparsely populated outpost. The Defence Act of reinforced the importance of Australian defence, and in February , Lord Kitchener provided further advice on a defence scheme based on conscription.

By , the battlecruiser Australia led the fledgling Royal Australian Navy. Historian Bill Gammage estimates that on the eve of war, Australia had , men "under arms of some sort". Historian Humphrey McQueen has it that working and living conditions for Australia's working classes in the early 20th century were of "frugal comfort". The Harvester Judgment of recognised the concept of a basic wage and in the Federal government also began an old age pension scheme. Together with the White Australia Policy and pioneering social policy, these developments have since been dubbed the Australian settlement.

As a result of them, the new Commonwealth gained recognition as a laboratory for social experimentation and positive liberalism. Catastrophic droughts plagued some regions in the late s and early 20th century and together with a growing rabbit plague , created great hardship in the rural area of Australia. Despite this, a number of writers "imagined a time when Australia would outstrip Britain in wealth and importance, when its open spaces would support rolling acres of farms and factories to match those of the United States.

Some estimated the future population at million, million or more". Brady , whose book Australia Unlimited described Australia's inland as ripe for development and settlement, "destined one day to pulsate with life". With the encouragement of Queensland, in , a British protectorate had been proclaimed over the southern coast of New Guinea and its adjacent islands.

British New Guinea , was annexed outright in The possession was placed under the authority of the newly federated Commonwealth of Australia in and with passage of the Papua Act of , British New Guinea became the Australian Territory of Papua , with formal Australian administration beginning in The world war marked a decisive moment in the history of Australia, remember to this day for the ANZAC story of the Army's sacrifices at Gallipoli, and the coming-of-age of a young nation. The declaration of war by King George V in August automatically involved all of Britain's colonies and dominions.

I sincerely hope that international arbitration will avail before Europe is convulsed in the greatest war of all time But should the worst happen Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling. More than , Australian men volunteered to fight during the First World War between and [] from a total national population of 4.

After the Australian Imperial Forces AIF was withdrawn in late , and enlarged to five divisions, most were moved to France to serve under British command. Light horsemen of the 4th and 12th Regiments captured heavily fortified Beersheba from Turk forces by means of a cavalry charge at full gallop on 31 October One of the last great cavalry charges in history, the attack opened a way for the allies to outflank the Gaza-Beersheba Line and drive the Ottomans back into Palestine.

The AIF's first experience of warfare on the Western Front was also the most costly single encounter in Australian military history. In July , at Fromelles , in a diversionary attack during the Battle of the Somme , the AIF suffered 5, killed or wounded in 24 hours. Two bitterly fought and divisive conscription referendums were held in Australia in and Both failed, and Australia's army remained a volunteer force. John Monash was appointed corps commander of the Australian forces in May and led some significant attacks in the final stages of the war. British Field Marshal Montgomery later called him "the best general on the western front in Europe".

Monash made the protection of infantry a priority and sought to fully integrate all the new technologies of warfare in both the planning and execution of battles, thus he wrote that infantry should not be sacrificed needlessly to enemy bayonets and machine guns—but rather should "advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes". His first operation at the relatively small Battle of Hamel demonstrated the validity of his approach and later actions before the Hindenburg Line in confirmed it.

The 8th of August put the decline of [German] fighting power beyond all doubt". Over 60, Australians had died during the conflict and , were wounded, a high proportion of the , who had fought overseas. While the Gallipoli campaign was a total failure militarily and Australians died, its memory was all-important. Gallipoli transformed the Australian mind and became an iconic element of the Australian identity and the founding moment of nationhood.

Bill Gammage has suggested that the choice of 25 April has always meant much to Australians because at Gallipoli, "the great machines of modern war were few enough to allow ordinary citizens to show what they could do". In France, between and , "where almost seven times as many Australians died At one point Hughes declared: "I speak for 60, [Australian] dead".

Hughes demanded that Australia have independent representation within the newly formed League of Nations and was the most prominent opponent of the inclusion of the Japanese racial equality proposal, which as a result of lobbying by him and others was not included in the final Treaty, deeply offending Japan. Hughes was concerned by the rise of Japan. Though Japan occupied German possessions with the blessings of the British, Hughes was alarmed by this policy.

Japan obtained control over the South Pacific Mandate , north of the equator. After the war, Prime Minister Billy Hughes led a new conservative force, the Nationalist Party , formed from the old Liberal party and breakaway elements of Labor of which he was the most prominent , after the deep and bitter split over Conscription. An estimated 12, Australians died as a result of the Spanish flu pandemic of , almost certainly brought home by returning soldiers. The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia posed a threat in the eyes of many Australians, although to a small group of socialists, it was an inspiration.

The Communist Party of Australia was formed in and, though remaining electorally insignificant, it obtained some influence in the trade union movement and was banned during World War II for its support for the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Menzies Government unsuccessfully tried to ban it again during the Korean War. Despite splits, the party remained active until its dissolution at the end of the Cold War.

The Country Party today's National Party formed in to promulgate its version of agrarianism , which it called " Countrymindedness ". The goal was to enhance the status of the graziers operators of big sheep ranches and small farmers, and secure subsidies for them. Other significant after-effects of the war included ongoing industrial unrest, which included the Victorian Police strike. Other major strikes occurred on the waterfront, in the coalmining and timber industries in the late s.

The union movement had established the Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU in in response to the Nationalist government's efforts to change working conditions and reduce the power of the unions. The consumerism, entertainment culture, and new technologies that characterised the s in the United States were also found in Australia. Prohibition was not implemented in Australia, though anti-alcohol forces were successful in having hotels closed after 6 pm, and closed altogether in a few city suburbs.

The fledgling film industry declined through the decade, over 2 million Australians attending cinemas weekly at venues. A Royal Commission in failed to assist and the industry that had begun so brightly with the release of the world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang , atrophied until its revival in the s. Speaking in early , Bruce summed up the priorities and optimism of many Australians, saying that "men, money and markets accurately defined the essential requirements of Australia" and that he was seeking such from Britain.

In Australia, the costs of major investment had traditionally been met by state and Federal governments and heavy borrowing from overseas was made by the governments in the s. A Loan Council was set up in to co-ordinate loans, three-quarters of which came from overseas. Wheat and wool made up more than two-thirds of all Australian exports", a dangerous reliance on just two export commodities. Australia embraced the new technologies of transport and communication. Coastal sailing ships were finally abandoned in favour of steam, and improvements in rail and motor transport heralded dramatic changes in work and leisure.

In there were 50, cars and lorries in the whole of Australia. By there were , He went on to global fame and a series of aviation records before vanishing on a night flight to Singapore in This formalised the Balfour Declaration of , a report resulting from the Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, which defined Dominions of the British empire in the following way: "They are autonomous Communities within the British Empire , equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown , and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

However, Australia did not ratify the Statute of Westminster until According to historian Frank Crowley , this was because Australians had little interest in redefining their relationship with Britain until the crisis of World War II. The Australia Act removed any remaining links between the British Parliament and the Australian states. New South Wales has had one further territory surrendered, namely Jervis Bay Territory comprising 6, hectares, in The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the Commonwealth in Australia was deeply affected by the Great Depression of the s, particularly due to its heavy dependence on exports, especially primary products such as wool and wheat.

Australia's dependence of exports left her extraordinarily vulnerable to world market fluctuations", according to economic historian Geoff Spenceley.


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The situation caused alarm amongst a few politicians and economists, notably Edward Shann of the University of Western Australia , but most political, union and business leaders were reluctant to admit to serious problems. As the economy slowed in , so did manufacturing and the country slipped into recession as profits slumped and unemployment rose. At elections held in October , the Labor Party was swept into power in a landslide victory ; Stanley Bruce , the former Prime Minister, lost his own seat. The new Prime Minister, James Scullin , and his largely inexperienced government were almost immediately faced with a series of crises.

Hamstrung by their lack of control of the Senate, a lack of control over the banking system and divisions within their party over how best to deal with the situation, the government was forced to accept solutions that eventually split the party, as it had in Various "plans" to resolve the crisis were suggested; Sir Otto Niemeyer , a representative of the English banks who visited in mid, proposed a deflationary plan, involving cuts to government spending and wages.

Treasurer Ted Theodore proposed a mildly inflationary plan, while the Labor Premier of New South Wales , Jack Lang , proposed a radical plan which repudiated overseas debt. The Melbourne Premiers' Conference agreed to cut wages and pensions as part of a severe deflationary policy but Lang renounced the plan. The grand opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in provided little respite to the growing crisis straining the young federation.

With multimillion-pound debts mounting, public demonstrations and move and counter-move by Lang and then Scullin, then Lyons federal governments, the Governor of New South Wales , Philip Game , had been examining Lang's instruction not to pay money into the Federal Treasury. Game judged it was illegal. Lang refused to withdraw his order and, on 13 May, he was dismissed by Governor Game. At June elections, Lang Labor's seats collapsed. May had seen the creation of a new conservative political force, the United Australia Party formed by breakaway members of the Labor Party combining with the Nationalist Party.

They remained in power until September The Lyons government has often been credited with steering recovery from the depression, although just how much of this was owed to their policies remains contentious.

Australia recovered relatively quickly from the financial downturn of —, with recovery beginning around The Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, favoured the tough economic measures of the Premiers' Plan, pursued an orthodox fiscal policy and refused to accept the proposals of the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, to default on overseas debt repayments. According to author Anne Henderson of the Sydney Institute , Lyons held a steadfast belief in "the need to balance budgets, lower costs to business and restore confidence" and the Lyons period gave Australia "stability and eventual growth" between the drama of the Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War.

A lowering of wages was enforced and industry tariff protections maintained, which together with cheaper raw materials during the s saw a shift from agriculture to manufacturing as the chief employer of the Australian economy—a shift which was consolidated by increased investment by the commonwealth government into defence and armaments manufacture. Lyons saw restoration of Australia's exports as the key to economic recovery. There is debate over the extent reached by unemployment in Australia, often cited as peaking at 29 per cent in Statistics collected by historian Peter Spearritt show This is not to say that In the working class suburb of Paddington , Extraordinary sporting successes did something to alleviate the spirits of Australians during the economic downturn.

In a Sheffield Shield cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in , Don Bradman , a young New South Welshman of just 21 years of age wrote his name into the record books by smashing the previous highest batting score in first-class cricket with runs not out in just minutes. Between and the racehorse Phar Lap dominated Australia's racing industry, at one stage winning fourteen races in a row. Soon after, on the cusp of US success, Phar Lap developed suspicious symptoms and died. Theories swirled that the champion race horse had been poisoned and a devoted Australian public went into shock.

Until the late s, defence was not a significant issue for Australians. At the elections, both political parties advocated increased defence spending, in the context of increased Japanese aggression in China and Germany's aggression in Europe. There was a difference in opinion over how the defence spending should be allocated however. The United Australia Party government emphasised co-operation with Britain in "a policy of imperial defence". The lynchpin of this was the British naval base at Singapore and the Royal Navy battle fleet "which, it was hoped, would use it in time of need".

In , the Navy, which included two heavy cruisers and four light cruisers, was the service best equipped for war. Fearing Japanese intentions in the Pacific, Menzies established independent embassies in Tokyo and Washington to receive independent advice about developments. By September the Australian Army numbered 3, regulars. It is my melancholy duty to inform you, officially, that, in consequence of the persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland , Great Britain has declared war upon her, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. Thus began Australia's involvement in the six-year global conflict.

Australians were to fight in an extraordinary variety of locations, from withstanding the advance of Hitler's Panzers in the Siege of Tobruk ; to turning back the advance of the Imperial Japanese Army in the New Guinea Campaign. From bomber missions over Europe and Mediterranean naval engagements, to facing Japanese mini-sub raids on Sydney Harbour and devastating air raids on the city of Darwin. The recruitment of a volunteer military force for service at home and abroad was announced, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and a citizen militia organised for local defence.

Troubled by Britain's failure to increase defences at Singapore, Menzies was cautious in committing troops to Europe. Britain stood alone with its dominions. Menzies called for "all-out war", increasing federal powers and introducing conscription. Menzies' minority government came to rely on just two independents after the election.

In January , Menzies flew to Britain to discuss the weakness of Singapore's defences. Returning to Australia, with the threat of Japan imminent and with the Australian army suffering badly in the Greek and Crete campaigns, Menzies re-approached the Labor Party to form a War Cabinet. Unable to secure their support, and with an unworkable parliamentary majority, Menzies resigned as Prime Minister.

The Coalition held office for another month, before the independents switched allegiance and John Curtin was sworn in as Prime Minister. The Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw derided the defenders as 'rats', a term the soldiers adopted as an ironic compliment: " The Rats of Tobruk ". Australia was ill-prepared for an attack, lacking armaments, modern fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, and aircraft carriers. While demanding reinforcements from Churchill, on 27 December Curtin published an historic announcement: [] "The Australian Government Without inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.

British Malaya quickly collapsed, shocking the Australian nation. British, Indian and Australian troops made a disorganised last stand at Singapore , before surrendering on 15 February Around 15, Australian soldiers became prisoners of war. Curtin predicted that the "battle for Australia" would now follow. On 19 February, Darwin suffered a devastating air raid , the first time the Australian mainland had ever been attacked by enemy forces. Over the following 19 months, Australia was attacked from the air almost times. Two battle-hardened Australian divisions were already steaming from the Middle East for Singapore.

Churchill wanted them diverted to Burma, but Curtin refused, and anxiously awaited their return to Australia. US President Franklin D. Curtin had thus presided over a fundamental shift in Australia's foreign policy. MacArthur moved his headquarters to Melbourne in March and American troops began massing in Australia.

In late May , Japanese midget submarines sank an accommodation vessel in a daring raid on Sydney Harbour. On 8 June , two Japanese submarines briefly shelled Sydney's eastern suburbs and the city of Newcastle. The Battle of Midway in June effectively defeated the Japanese navy and the Japanese army launched a land assault on Moresby from the north.

A turning point came between July and November , when Australia's 9th Division played a crucial role in some of the heaviest fighting of the First and Second Battle of El Alamein , which turned the North Africa Campaign in favour of the Allies. The Battle of Buna—Gona , between November and January , set the tone for the bitter final stages of the New Guinea campaign , which persisted into The offensives in Papua and New Guinea of —44 were the single largest series of connected operations ever mounted by the Australian armed forces.

Australian prisoners of war were at this time suffering severe ill-treatment in the Pacific Theatre. This was the single worst war crime perpetrated against Australians in war. MacArthur largely excluded Australian forces from the main push north into the Philippines and Japan. It was left to Australia to lead amphibious assaults against Japanese bases in Borneo.

Curtin suffered from ill health from the strains of office and died weeks before the war ended, replaced by Ben Chifley. Of Australia's wartime population of seven million, almost one million men and women served in a branch of the services during the six years of warfare. Over 39, were killed or died as prisoners-of-war, about 8, of whom died as prisoners of the Japanese. While the Australian civilian population suffered less at the hands of the Axis powers than did other Allied nations in Asia and Europe, Australia nevertheless came under direct attack by Japanese naval forces and aerial bombardments, particularly through and , resulting in hundreds of fatalities and fuelling fear of Japanese invasion.

Axis naval activity in Australian waters also brought the war close to home for Australians. Austerity measures, rationing and labour controls measures were all implemented to assist the war effort. Although the peak of army enlistments occurred in June—July , when over 70, enlisted, it was the Curtin Labor Government , formed in October , that was largely responsible for "a complete revision of the whole Australian economic, domestic and industrial life".

From December , the Government evacuated all women and children from Darwin and northern Australia, and over 10, refugees arrived from South East Asia as Japan advanced. In May uniform tax laws were introduced in Australia, as state governments relinquished their control over income taxation, "The significance of this decision was greater than any other Manufacturing grew significantly because of the war. A number of aircraft were built under licence in Australia before the war's end, notably the Beaufort and Beaufighter , although the majority of aircraft were from Britain and later, the US.

Australia also created, virtually from nothing, a significant female workforce engaged in direct war production. Between and the number of women working in factories rose from , to , At the same election, Dorothy Tangney became the first woman elected to the Senate.

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Politically, Robert Menzies and the Liberal Party of Australia dominated much of the immediate post war era, defeating the Labor government of Ben Chifley in , in part over a Labor proposal to nationalise banks [] and following a crippling coal strike led by the Australian Communist Party. Menzies became the country's longest-serving Prime Minister and the Liberal party, in coalition with the rural based Country Party , won every federal election until As in the United States in the early s, allegations of communist influence in society saw tensions emerge in politics.

After fighting to a bitter standstill, the UN and North Korea signed a ceasefire agreement in July Australian forces had participated in such major battles as Kapyong and Maryang San. During the course of the Korean War , the Liberal Government attempted to ban the Communist Party of Australia , first by legislation in and later by referendum, in The DLP remained an influential political force, often holding the balance of power in the Senate, until Its preferences supported the Liberal and Country Party.

Evatt after Chifley's death in Evatt retired in amid signs of mental ill-health, and Arthur Calwell succeeded him as leader, with a young Gough Whitlam as his deputy. Menzies presided over a period of sustained economic boom and the beginnings of sweeping social change—with the arrivals of rock and roll music and television in the s.

In , Australian country music singer Slim Dusty , who would become the musical embodiment of rural Australia, had Australia's first international music chart hit with his bush ballad " Pub With No Beer ", [] while rock and roller Johnny O'Keefe 's " Wild One " became the first local recording to reach the national charts, peaking at No. Menzies remained a staunch supporter of links to the monarchy and Commonwealth of Nations and formalised an alliance with the United States , but also launched post-war trade with Japan, beginning a growth of Australian exports of coal, iron ore and mineral resources that would steadily climb until Japan became Australia's largest trading partner.

Holt drowned while swimming at a surf beach in December and was replaced by John Gorton — and then by William McMahon — In , Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell wrote "If the experience of the Pacific War has taught us one thing, it surely is that seven million Australians cannot hold three million square miles of this earth's surface indefinitely. Calwell stated a preference for ten British immigrants for each one from other countries; however, the numbers of British migrants fell short of what was expected, despite government assistance.

Migration brought large numbers of southern and central Europeans to Australia for the first time. A government leaflet assured readers that unskilled non-British migrants were needed for "labour on rugged projects This hydroelectricity and irrigation complex in south-east Australia consisted of sixteen major dams and seven power stations constructed between and It remains the largest engineering project undertaken in Australia.

Necessitating the employment of , people from over 30 countries , to many it denotes the birth of multicultural Australia. The Australian population reached 10 million in —with Sydney its most populous city. In May , the Menzies Government passed the Migration Act which replaced the Immigration Restriction Act's arbitrarily applied dictation test with an entry permit system, that reflected economic and skills criteria. It legally ended in Australia enjoyed significant growth in prosperity in the s and s, with increases in both living standards and in leisure time.

Car ownership rapidly increased—from owners in every 1, in to owners in every 1, by In the s, about 60 per cent of Australian manufacturing was protected by tariffs. Pressure from business interests and the union movement ensured these remained high. Historian Geoffrey Bolton suggests that this high tariff protection of the s caused some industries to "lapse into lethargy", neglecting research and development and the search for new markets.

Prices for wool and wheat remained high, with wool the mainstay of Australia's exports. Sheep numbers grew from million in to million in Wool production increased from , to , tonnes in the same period. The great housing boom of the post war period saw rapid growth in the suburbs of the major Australian cities. By the census, only 14 per cent lived in rural Australia, down from 31 per cent in , and only 8 per cent lived on farms.

In addition, most households had now acquired a car. The vast majority of families had access to a car. Distinguished Architect and designer Robin Boyd , a critic of Australia's built surroundings, described Australia as "'the constant sponge lying in the Pacific', following the fashions of overseas and lacking confidence in home-produced, original ideas". It was the first of many of his satirical stage and screen creations based around quirky Australian characters: Sandy Stone , a morose elderly suburbanite, Barry McKenzie a naive Australian expat in London and Sir Les Patterson , a vulgar parody of a Whitlam-era politician.

Some writers defended suburban life, however. Journalist Craig Macgregor saw suburban life as a " Children in the suburbs found space in backyards, streets and lanes, playgrounds and reserves In , the Menzies Government formally announced the introduction of the new two-tiered TV system—a government-funded service run by the ABC , and two commercial services in Sydney and Melbourne , with the Summer Olympics in Melbourne being a major driving force behind the introduction of television to Australia.

In the early s, the Menzies government saw Australia as part of a "triple alliance" in concert with both the US and traditional ally Britain. Menzies oversaw an effusive welcome to Queen Elizabeth II on the first visit to Australia by a reigning monarch , in He made the following remarks during a light-hearted speech to an American audience in New York, while on his way to attend her coronation in "We in Australia, of course, are British, if I may say so, to the boot heels However, as British influence declined in South East Asia, the US alliance came to have greater significance for Australian leaders and the Australian economy.

British investment in Australia remained significant until the late s, but trade with Britain declined through the s and s. In the late s the Australian Army began to re-equip using US military equipment. In , the US established a naval communications station at North West Cape , the first of several built over the next decade. According to diplomat Alan Renouf , the dominant theme in Australia's foreign policy under Australia's Liberal — Country Party governments of the s and s was anti-communism.

Its obligations on the US, Australia and New Zealand are vague, but its influence on Australian foreign policy thinking, at times has been significant. As Britain struggled to enter the Common Market in the s, Australia saw that its historic ties with the mother country were rapidly fraying. Canberra was alarmed but kept a low profile not wanting to alienate London. Historian Ben Pimlott argues that she was mistaken, for joining Europe, "constituted the most decisive step yet in the progress of severance of familial ties between Britain and its former Empire It reduced the remaining links to sentimental and cultural ones, and legal niceties.

Between and almost 60, personnel served in Vietnam, including ground troops, naval forces and air assets. Johnson " I hope there is corner of your mind and heart which takes cheer from the fact that you have an admiring friend, a staunch friend, [Australia] that will be all the way with LBJ. The Liberal-CP Government was returned with a massive majority in elections held in December , fought over national security issues including Vietnam. Arthur Calwell, who had been leader of the Labor Party since , retired in favour of his deputy Gough Whitlam a few months later.

Despite Holt's sentiments and his government's electoral success in , the war became unpopular in Australia, as it did in the United States. The movements to end Australia's involvement gathered strength after the Tet Offensive of early and compulsory national service selected by ballot became increasingly unpopular. In the elections , the government hung on despite a significant decline in popularity. Moratorium marches held across Australia in mid attracted large crowds- the Melbourne march of , being led by Labor MP Jim Cairns.

As the Nixon administration proceeded with Vietnamization of the war and began the withdrawal of troops, so did the Australian Government. The Australian military presence in Vietnam had lasted 10 years, and in purely human cost, over had been killed and more than 2, wounded. By the mids, a new nationalism was emerging. The National Trust of Australia began to be active in preserving Australia's natural, cultural and historic heritage.

Australian TV saw locally-made dramas and comedies appear, and programmes such as Homicide developed strong local loyalty while Skippy the Bush Kangaroo became a global phenomenon. The iconic Sydney Opera House opened in The national funding body, the Australian Film Commission , was established in Significant changes also occurred to Australia's censorship laws after the new Liberal Minister for Customs and Excise, Don Chipp , was appointed in Only a few years later, the book had been made as a film, partly with the support of government funding.

Historian Richard White also argues that "while many of the plays, novels and films produced in the s were intensely critical of aspects of Australian life, they were absorbed by the 'new nationalism' and applauded for their Australianness. In , businessman Ken Myer commented; "we like to think we have a distinct style of our own. We have outgrown a lot of our inadequacies There was a time when an interest in the arts threw doubts on one's masculinity. The s was a key decade for indigenous rights. In , the Menzies Government 's Commonwealth Electoral Act provided that all Indigenous people should have the right to enrol and vote at federal elections prior to this, indigenous people in Queensland, Western Australia and "wards of the state" in the Northern Territory had been excluded from voting unless they were ex-servicemen.

In , Queensland became the last state to confer state voting rights on Aboriginal people. A Referendum called by the Holt Government saw Australians vote by a 90 per cent majority to change the Australian constitution to include all Aborigines in the national census and allow the Federal parliament to legislate on their behalf.

Indigenous Australians began to take up representation in Australian parliaments. Bonner remained in the Senate until Various groups and individuals were active in the pursuit of indigenous rights from the s. One of the earliest Aboriginal graduates from the University of Sydney , Charles Perkins , helped organise freedom rides into parts of Australia to expose discrimination and inequality. In , the Gurindji people of Wave Hill station commenced the Gurindji strike in a quest for equal pay and recognition of land rights.

In , the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in the Mabo Case , holding that the legal doctrine of terra nullius did not apply when Australia was settled, and therefore Indigenous native title survived reception of English law. That same year, Prime Minister Paul Keating said in his Redfern Park Speech that European settlers were responsible for the difficulties Australian Aboriginal communities continued to face: 'We committed the murders.

We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice'. Australia administered Papua New Guinea and Nauru for much of the 20th century. Papua and New Guinea adopted self-government in and on 15 September , the Territory became the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. In , the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration granted women the full adult wage.

However, resistance to women being employed in certain industries remained until well into the s. Because of obstruction from elements of the Unions movement, it would take until for women to be admitted as drivers on Melbourne's trams , and Sir Reginald Ansett refused to allow women to train as pilots as late as Australia had led the world in bringing women's suffrage rights during the late 19th century, and Edith Cowan was elected to the West Australian Legislative Assembly in Dame Enid Lyons , was the first woman to hold a Cabinet post in the ministry of Robert Menzies and finally, Rosemary Follett was elected Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory in , becoming the first woman elected to lead a state or territory.

Elected in December after 23 years in opposition, Labor won office under Gough Whitlam , introducing a significant programme of social change and reform and dramatically expanding the Federal budget. Within a few weeks the last military advisors in Vietnam were recalled, and national service ended. Significant changes were made to school funding. The Whitlam government's agenda endeared it to some Australians, but not all.

Some of the state governments were openly hostile to it, and as it did not control the senate, much of its legislation was rejected or amended. Even after it was re-elected at elections in May , the Senate remained an obstacle to its political agenda. At the only joint sitting of parliament, in August , six key pieces of legislation were passed. The Whitlam Government was re-elected with a decreased majority in the lower house in the Election. Minister Rex Connor conducted secret discussions with a loan broker from Pakistan, and the Treasurer, Jim Cairns , misled parliament over the issue.

Whitlam refused, Malcolm Fraser , leader of the Opposition insisted. The deadlock ended when the Whitlam government was dismissed by the Governor-General , John Kerr on 11 November and Fraser was installed as caretaker Prime Minister, pending an election. The "reserve powers" granted to the Governor-General by the Australian Constitution , had allowed an elected government to be dismissed without warning by a representative of the Monarch. At elections held in late , Malcolm Fraser and the Coalition were elected in a landslide victory.

The Fraser Government won two subsequent elections. Fraser maintained some of the social reforms of the Whitlam era, while seeking increased fiscal restraint. His government included the first Aboriginal federal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner , and in , Parliament passed the Aboriginal Land Rights Act , which, while limited to the Northern Territory, affirmed "inalienable" freehold title to some traditional lands. Fraser established the multicultural broadcaster SBS , welcomed Vietnamese boat people refugees, opposed minority white rule in Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia and opposed Soviet expansionism.

A significant programme of economic reform however was not pursued and, by , the Australian economy was in recession, amidst the effects of a severe drought. Fraser had promoted "states' rights" and his government refused to use Commonwealth powers to stop the construction of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania in

A Brief History of Australia A Brief History of Australia
A Brief History of Australia A Brief History of Australia
A Brief History of Australia A Brief History of Australia
A Brief History of Australia A Brief History of Australia
A Brief History of Australia A Brief History of Australia

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