The Federation of Australia

The Federation Of Australia There are many reasons for and against the federation of Australia. These reasons will be conveyed in this essay. Before the federation Australia consisted of six colonies of Britain. Before 1872 the British colonies had nothing to do with each other, although a telegraph linked the colonies and the idea of being “Australian”. By the 1890’s songs and poems were being written to celebrated a nation and the idea of becoming a federation was becoming much more popular. There were many fears in Australia and that the colonies will be attacked by neighbouring countries.

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Other fear like the big colonies like New South Wales and Victoria will dominate the smaller colonies like South Australia, which had only been less than 50 years old. Mark Anderson and Paul Ashton (Historians) support this. There are many reasons for the federation, which will be looked at later on. These are some of the reasons against the federation of Australia. One the reasons, which delayed the federation, was the 90% of the people in the colonies were of British origin. Which of most of them saw themselves as British citizens who just lived in separate colonies.

They were then not motivated to create a new nation. Also the New South Wales colony feared that if Australia were to federate the government would relax on immigration laws and allow more non-white people in. Many of them argued that they were better off remaining a white colony on their own. They were also jealous that the colony of Victoria would get the capital city (Melbourne). Another reason, which delayed the Federation of Australia was that, the economy will fall and many things will become more expensive and taxes will become higher.

Also that it will be too expensive to set up a new government and that new government will become too expensive too run. A politician by the name Henry Parkes (Premier of New South Wales) was one of the people who really pushed for the Federation of Australia. He had organised many conventions such as Australasian Federation Convention 1890, which included representatives from New Zealand, was held in Melbourne. Another convention was the National Australasian Convention, which was held n Sydney 1891, included representatives from each colony. In this convention they work on the Australia Constitution. The committee in this convention drew the draft: Edmund Barton (New South Wales), Andrew Inglis Clark (Tasmania), Samuel Griffith (Queensland) and Charles Kingston (South Australia). Although when Henry Parkes lost office the push for the Federation had slowed for several years. A quote “Creating a Nation requires the will of the people”, this is saying that people have to want to become a nation in order to become one.

The National Australasian Convention met again in 1897-98, which all the colonies elected representatives, except Queensland who didn’t support the federation due to the kanakas, who were slaves in Queensland. If Queensland were to join the federation they were to abolish slavery. They were not ready to do so. One reason for the federation of Australia was that if neighbouring countries were to attack Australia they were able to defend the country. The reason they were afraid that the neighbouring countries were going to invade was because Australia was such a vast country with so little population.

The colonies wanted not to rely on British Naval Ships to save them. This was a first sign of independence for Australia from Britain. A quote to support this is that “In their eagerness they have betrayed Australians”. Another reason for the federation is that abolishing tariffs in the country. These were extra payments of imported goods. This would save time and money because the people would have to pay extra money to import another good in another colony. This would help them through the economic depression that Australia was going through.

Supporters believed that a strong central government would be more effective and lift them out of the recent drought and economic depression. Furthermore the trade would be much better if the colonies were to federate then it would make trade much better. This is because then other countries would recognise the goods from a nation not an unknown colony. Also those different goods were in different colonies, which meant that if they were to federate than that meant they could export all different types of materials. E. g. oal, gold, wheat, wool etc… When the compromise between the colonies ended it made the federation a lot easy. The rivalry between New south Wales and Victoria was ended when it was decided that neither state was going to have the capital and it would be exactly between the two of them. The conflict and fears that the larger states were going to dominate the smaller states was ended when they decided that the parliament was to have two parts the Senate and the House of representatives, which all the states had equal number of representatives.

To conclude this argument I think that the reasons to federate were much stronger than the reason against the federation. Also I think that the federation was a success and that we have accomplished many great things as a nation. By Peter Tsikas http://www. kidcyber. com. au/topics/federation. htm http://www. skwirk. com/p-c_s-1_u-97_t-238_c-797/for-and-against-federation-/nsw/hsie/australian-democracy/federation Australia in the 20th Century Mark Anderson and Paul Ashton http://www. teachers. ash. org. au/researchskills/Federation/notes. htm


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