Federation • The country of Australia was formed in 1901, and a parliament was made. • The Australian constitution was set up, and Australia became a Commonwealth country. • One of the policies of the new country was a racist immigration policy made to keep people who weren’t white from living in Australia. • Only people from Europe were allowed to move to Australia to live, mainly from Britain and Ireland, and this was called the White Australia Policy.
First World War • One of the first main events in for the new Commonwealth of Australia was the First World War. • Australia sent many troops to Europe to fight in the war, in different place, but these days Australians are all familiar with the soldiers who fought in Gallipoli.
First World War • Gallipoli was a part of Turkey, which was important to the war. • Turkey was fighting on the side of the Germans, and was in control of Gallipoli, and stopped ships from passing through the Dardanelles. • The British decided that Gallipoli had to be taken over so that ships could get through, and so many Australian and New Zealand soldiers were sent there to fight.
First World War • The Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought together, and came to be known as ANZACs. • The fighting was fierce where they landed, and many soldiers died, and the place is still known as ANZAC cove. • Australia and New Zealand still remember the bravery of the soldiers on the 25th of April every year, which is called ANZAC day, and is a public holiday.
Second World War • Twenty years later, during the second world war, Australia was much closer to the fighting. • When the Japanese military started to fight its way southwards through Asia, Australian soldiers were called home from Europe where they were fighting the Germans, to fight the Japanese. • After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, and the US entered the war, it was obvious to the Australian leaders that the safety of Australia depended on working closely with the US military, and this continues today.
Second World War • The Australian soldiers fought the Japanese as they approached Australia, in places like Papua New Guinea and Borneo, although the fighting never reached Australia. • The closest the Japanese got was to bomb Darwin with their air force, and a submarine attack on Sydney.
After the War • After the Second World War, the Australian government was worried that other countries like Japan would try to invade Australia, because it had such a small population, but a large area and many natural resources. • The government decided that more people from overseas should be encouraged to move to Australia, but the old policy of only letting in white people was still in place, so most of the new Australians were from countries like Italy and Greece.
Immigration • As time went on, the rules about just white people being able to move to Australia were changed • In 1975 the racial discrimination law stopped any government using a person’s race to decide any official matter. • Soon after, it was decided that the country a person came from should not matter, everyone should have an equal chance of being accepted.
The Vietnam War • The close ties between the Australian and US militaries meant Australia was involved in the Vietnam war. • The superpowers were involved in the cold war at that time, and the Communist countries had supported North Vietnam in its war with the French. • The US sent forces in to support South Vietnam, to stop the spread of communism, and Australia sent forces as well.
After Vietnam • In 1986, the last laws giving the UK direct control over parts of the Australian government were thrown out. • The country remained a constitutional monarchy, but the Queen had no real power, and the courts could no longer appeal to the UK court system. • Many Australian people felt that Australia did not need a Queen, and so there was a referendum in 1999 on whether Australia should become a republic.
Republic • Most people in Australia wanted a republic, but wanted the president to be elected by the people. • The government did not want a republic, so in the vote they made the only option a republic with a president chosen by parliament, not by the people. • Most people didn’t want this, so the referendum failed, and Australia stayed a monarchy.
21st Century • In the last ten years, Australia has sent soldiers to a number of wars. • In 1999, East Timor separated from Indonesia, and Australia sent soldiers to stop more violence from occurring. • Australia also sent soldiers to the 2001 Gulf War to support the US, and to fight in Afghanistan with many other countries against the Taliban.
Australian Politics and Economy • The government of the Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy. • The head of state is the Queen of the UK, but she has no real power, she is just a representative. • The parliament of Australia has two sections, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. • A law has to be approved by both parts of the parliament before it can be accepted.
Politics • The government is made up of ministers from the party which wins the election, and the leader of the party becomes the Prime Minister, which is the highest position in government. • The two main parties are called the Labour and Coalition parties. • The Labour party was started by the labour unions, which is where it got its name.
Politics • The Coalition is made up of two parties who have joined together, the Liberal party and the National Party. • The liberal party supports business and usually has policies aimed at helping companies and businesses. • The National Party supports farmers and people who live in the countryside. • These two parties work together to make the Coalition party.
Politics • There are some other parties in Australia, but the only one which has any real support is the Green party. • This party is designed mainly to care for the environment, which is why it is called the green party. • The party which is in charge of Australia at the moment is the Labour Party, and the Prime Minister is Kevin Rudd.
Economy • The Australian economy depends on a lot of natural resources for its success. • Many parts of Australia have very few people, but a lot of resources, and so there is a lot of mining going on, for things like coal, gold and Uranium. • Australia also has a lot of farming, growing things like sheep and cattle, and wheat and rice, to sell to other countries.