Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Federation of Australia brought with it a whole new Parliament who go to work making legislation that would shape the future of Australia, most notably the White Australia Policy. Read through the resources below to learn more about Australia's Parliament and the legislation that would shape a nation.
This Turning Points in Australian Democracy timeline contains over 500 milestones that mark key events and turning points in Australian democracy. It takes you on a virtual journey through time and place, and glimpse key moments in the history of democratic ideas, laws and institutions.
Compared to some other parliaments around the world, Australia's Parliament is quite young but it is based on practices and ideals from much older parliaments. This in-depth paper explores the development of the Westminster system in Britain and parliamentary democracy in Australia.
Click on this map of Australia to find over 110 key documents that are the foundation of our nation.
The Immigration Restriction Act 1901, also known as the White Australia policy, affected migrants who came to Australia between 1901 and 1958. Read through this website to learn more about the policy and how it impacted Australia.
On 23 December 1901 the Immigration Restriction Act came into law. It had been among the first pieces of legislation introduced to the newly formed federal parliament. The legislation was specifically designed to limit non-British migration to Australia. It represented the formal establishment of the White Australia policy. Read through this article to learn more.
Immediately following Federation in 1901, policies were designed to keep Australia white and British. Non-racial language was used to minimise international condemnation, but the xenophobic concern was plainly evident. Read through this article to learn more.
In 1891, a handful of determined women from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Victorian Temperance Alliance, together with other suffrage groups, went door-to-door with a petition to gain the right to vote for Victorian women. The 'Monster Petition' was 260 metres long and 20cm wide, and several attendants were needed to carry it into parliament when it was tabled in September 1891. Read through this website to learn more about women's suffrage in Australia.
Suffrage refers to a person’s right to vote in a political election. Voting allows members of society to take part in deciding government policies that affect them. Women’s suffrage refers to the right of women to vote in an election. With Australia a newly federated country, the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 allowed non-Indigenous women in all states to vote and stand as candidates in federal elections. Read through this website to learn more about this fight for women's suffrage.
On 18 December 1894 the South Australian Parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment (Adult Suffrage) Act. The legislation was the result of a decade-long struggle to include women in the electoral process. It not only granted women in the colony the right to vote but allowed them to stand for parliament. This meant that South Australia was the first electorate in the world to give equal political rights to both men and women. Read through this website to learn more.
When Australia federated in 1901, the Constitution restricted voting rights in federal elections to women who held those same rights at a state level. Women in South Australia and some in Western Australia had been granted the right to vote. After lobbying by suffragists and some progressive politicians, the Commonwealth Franchise Act was enacted on 12 June 1902. Women in Australia over the age of 21 could now vote in national elections and stand for the Australian Parliament, despite many not possessing the right to do so in their home states. The right to vote in federal elections was not granted to First Nations women or men until 1962. Read through this website to learn more.
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