Australian federalism

Labor has historically been in favour of centralisation, while the Coalition has supported federalism.

Australian federalism

Federal Council[ edit ] A serious movement for Federation of the colonies arose in the late s, a time when there was increasing nationalism amongst Australians, the great majority of whom were native-born.

The idea of being "Australian" began to be celebrated in songs and poems. This was fostered by improvements in transport and communications, such as the establishment of a telegraph system between the colonies in The Australian colonies were also influenced by other federations which had emerged around the world, such as the United States and Canada.

At the conference, representatives from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia Australian federalism a number of issues including federation, communication, Chinese immigration, vine diseases and uniform tariff rates.

The Federation had the potential to ensure that throughout the continent, trade, and interstate commerce would be unaffected by protectionism and measurement and transport would be standardised.

The convention was called to debate the strategies needed to counter the activities of the German and French in New Australian federalism and in New Hebrides.

The conference successfully petitioned the Imperial Parliament to enact the bill as the Federal Council of Australasia Act New South Wales and New Zealand did not join.

South Australia was briefly a member between and The Federal Council had powers to legislate directly upon certain matters, such as in relation to extraditionregulation of fisheries, and so on, but it did not have a permanent secretariat, executive powers, or any revenue of its own.

Furthermore, the absence of the powerful colony of New South Wales weakened its representative value. Published in this cartoon depicts the anti-Chinese sentiment that was one of the driving forces behind the push for federation.

Nevertheless, it was the first major form of inter-colonial co-operation.

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It provided an opportunity for Federalists from around the country to meet and exchange ideas. In terms of the Federal Council of Australia Act, the Australian drafters established a number of powers dealing with their "common interest" which would later be replicated in the Australian Constitution, especially section Early opposition[ edit ] The individual colonies, Victoria excepted, were somewhat wary of Federation.

Politicians from the smaller colonies, in particular, disliked the very idea of delegating power to a national government; they feared that any such government would inevitably be dominated by the more populous New South Wales and Victoria.

Queensland, for its part, worried that the advent of race-based national legislation would restrict the importing of kanaka labourers, thereby jeopardising its sugar cane industry. These were not the only concerns of those resistant to federation.


Smaller colonies also worried about the abolition of tariffswhich would deprive them of a large proportion of their revenue, and leave their commerce at the mercy of the larger states. Victorian Premier James Service described fiscal union as "the lion in the way" of federation. A further fundamental issue was how to distribute the excess customs duties from the central government to the states.

For the larger colonies there was the possibility which never became an actuality that they could be required to subsidise the struggling economies of Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Even without the concerns, there was debate about the form of government that a federation would take. Experience of other federations was less than inspiring. In particular, the United States had experienced the traumatic Civil War.

The nascent Australian labour movement was less than wholly committed in its support for federation. On the one hand, nationalist sentiment was strong within the labour movement and there was much support for the idea of White Australia.

Australian federalism

On the other hand, labour representatives feared that federation would distract attention from the need for social and industrial reform, and further entrench the power of the conservative forces. The federal conventions included no representatives of organised labour.Note: Citations are based on reference standards.

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Australian federalism

Frederick douglass fourth of july speech essay about healthy, sunni sufi ashari synthesis essay knight frank france research paper. Fine tuning teleological argument essay . In partnership with the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Crawford School of Public Policy and with the University of Melbourne School of Government, we have asked leading Australian academics to begin a debate on renewing federalism, from tax reform to the broader issues of democracy.

Federalism was adopted, as a constitutional principle, in Australia on 1 January – the date upon which the six self-governing Australian Colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia federated, formally constituting the Commonwealth of Australia.


The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia agreed to unite and form the Commonwealth of Australia, establishing a system of federalism in Australia.

Australian politics can only be properly understood through an awareness of the federal structure. The essence of federalism is a division of powers between the .

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