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This page includes recently published Research Papers. You may also like to browse  Research Papers by year  or to search  Library publications in Parlinfo . The Parliamentary Library also publishes  Bills Digests .

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Excellence in Research for Australia

ERA EI Refelections

ERA Transition Working Group

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Judi Zielke PSM, has convened an expert working group to support the ARC to develop a modern data driven approach for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

ERA is Australia’s national research assessment, administered by the ARC. It identifies and promotes excellence in research in Australia’s higher education institutions through comparisons with international benchmarks.

The ARC will develop a plan to transition ERA to a modern data driven approach in line with the Statement of Expectations . An ERA evaluation round will not be conducted in 2023. This will reduce workload for universities and enable the ARC to prioritise this work.

The working group will comprise:

Broad consultation will occur later this year. The transition plan will be delivered by December 2022 for implementation in 2024-25.

The ARC administers Australia’s national research assessment, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). ERA identifies and promotes excellence across the full range of research in Australia’s higher education institutions.

Through ERA the ARC identifies excellence in research. It does this by comparing Australia's university research against international benchmarks. This creates incentives to improve the quality of research.

The first round of ERA, and the first nationwide assessment of research disciplines in Australia, was conducted in 2010. The ARC published the results in early 2011. ERA assessments were conducted in 2012, 2015, and 2018.

You can read each of the ERA Reports and ratings for each field of research at each institution are available on the  ARC Data Portal . Key documents for previous ERA rounds (2010, 2012, 2015 and 2018) are available at Archived Material.  

In 2020-21, the ARC conducted a comprehensive review of ERA and the Engagement and Impact Assessment, a companion exercise, to ensure our national assessments address Australia's future needs. The ERA EI Review Final Report 2020-2021 is available  PDF format  –  Word format .

ARC Data Portal

The ARC Data Portal contains:

ERA Background

What are the objectives of era.

ERA aims to:

How are the disciplines defined?

For ERA, the ARC defines disciplines as two-digit and four-digit Field of Research (FoR) codes using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC). For more information about ANZSRC, contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or visit  Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification .

What do the ERA outcomes tell us?

ERA evaluates performance within each discipline at each university. It provides a view of Australian research, from quantum physics to literature. It highlights our research strengths across all disciplines in areas of critical importance. ERA results also highlight the research strengths of individual universities.  National Report  data provides contextual information about research application, knowledge exchange and collaboration.

What are some of the benefits of ERA?

ERA provides reliable data about the quality of research in the higher education sector that:

Government, universities, and other stakeholders use ERA data and outcomes. For example, many universities include ERA results in their annual reports and strategic plans. And universities use ERA outcomes to promote their research strengths, here and abroad.

By taking part in ERA, universities have reported improvements in the quality of their own research data holdings.

How is ERA data used?

ERA data is of interest to government, universities, industry, and prospective students. Data from current and previous ERA rounds provides valuable information. For example, ERA data:

ERA and HERDC Alignment

The ARC is developing ways to streamline the submission process for universities. This includes using existing data sets and new technological approaches.

It also includes aligning ERA data requirements with other higher education data collections such as the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC), and Higher Education Staff Data Collection (HESDC) administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

Where can ERA presentations be found?

ARC presentations are made available on the website.

australia government research papers

Due to major building activity, some collections are unavailable. Please check your requests before visiting.  Learn more . 

Australian politics and government

Key resource.

GovPubs : the Australian Government Publications Guide  is a key resource for locating selected types of Australian government publications. These include:

GovPubs is no longer maintained, but contains useful explanations for each publication. Holdings information will help you to locate resources in the National Library, State libraries or online.


A dictionary of Australian politics  by Robert Corcoran and Jackie Dickenson (2010), defines a range of Australian political terms and expressions, and includes international terms which are essential to political discussion.

The  Legislation.gov.au glossary  identifies what some legal jargon is likely to mean in an Australian Government context.  


Parliament of Australia  : official website of Australian parliament, with information on parliamentary departments, links to committee reports, full text of bills, speeches, biographical information, parliamentary publications, and more. See also the  Parliamentary Library

www.gov.au  : access to the information and services of the Australian Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments

australia.gov.au  : government information and services, including how to find  Government publications

National Archives of Australia , including  research guides  on Parliamentary Papers and several Prime Ministers


Government in Australia is three-tiered: Commonwealth (or Federal), State and Local. You can find information about how government works in Australia through a number of official websites, including

What you can find in the Library

Government publications are deposited with the National Library of Australia under the  Library Deposit Scheme  (LDS). Previously, the National Library actively collected publications by way of various government administrative directives. You can find print publications and links to online sources through the Catalogue .

Using the Catalogue

Quick search.

Use the Catalogue standard search to find titles, authors or subjects.

You can’t browse the Library’s shelves in person, but you can use the Catalogue to browse by title, author, subject or Dewey number.

To search for general works about Australian politics, select the Browse alphabetically tab, then subjects . Some examples are:

To find information on Australian political parties, use Browse subjects options such as:

Items related to special interest groups in Australian society are found using Browse subjects searches such as:

Selected print resources:

Parliamentary government in Australia by Alan J. Ward (2014), combines constitutional history and political science to compare all nine of Australia's political systems, federal, state and territory, from colonial times to the present.

Australian political institutions by Singleton, Aitkin, Jinks and Warhurst (2013), introduces students to the structure and organisation of the institutions and functions of government in Australia, with reference to contemporary issues and debates.

Australian journal of political science includes articles on a wide range of political topics. Also available online from 1997 to the present, through the link in the Catalogue record.

Student texts: Government and politics in Australia  edited by Alan Fenna, Jane Robbins, John Summers (2014)

Politics in Australia by Martin Drum and John William Tate (2012); a source-based approach

Parliament House

Helicopter fly past, Queen in extreme bottom right, Canberra, 1988,  Andrew Campbell, (Photographer).


Part of  Opening of new Parliament House, Capital Hill, Canberra, on the 9th of May, 1988 [picture].


Official website of the British Royal Family :  includes information on the role of the Queen in Australia.

Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia  : information on the role of the Governor-General, speeches, previous Governors-General, the Australian Honours Secretariat and links to the websites of the State Governors.

Prime Minister of Australia  : official website of the Prime Minister. Includes speeches, media releases, links to the ministry, and general information on Australia


Australia's Diplomatic and Consular Missions  includes a listing of all Australian  Embassies and Consulates, arranged alphabetically by country.

The Commonwealth  provides information on the association of 53 independent sovereign states known as “The Commonwealth”.  The site includes historical detail, facts and figures on each of the member nations including Australia, current news, press releases, publications, events and initiatives.

Catalogue tips video

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The National Library of Australia acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Cultural Notification

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website contains a range of material which may be considered culturally sensitive including the records of people who have passed away.

Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority Homepage

Children learn more during the first five years than at any other time in life. The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services, and promote continuous improvement in service quality. On this page you will find research and reports relevant to the NQF.

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

On this page

Nqf evaluation framework, acecqa research and evaluation strategy, nqf annual performance report, nqf snapshots, occasional papers, quality improvement research project, quality support program (nsw department of education/acecqa), education and care sector research, regulatory burden reports, national partnership agreements, operational activity report, nqf foundation and review documents, explanatory materials for nqf legislation, child care in australia reports, australian early development census (aedc), national workforce census, australian institute for teaching and school leadership (aitsl) resources, australian education research organisation (aero) resources, australian skills quality authority (asqa) resources, starting strong reports (oecd), report on government services, acecqa submissions, families research, acecqa annual reports.

NQF Evaluation Framework

The NQF Evaluation Framework was developed so that governments and their regulatory agencies have an agreed way of understanding whether and how the NQF is meeting its objectives.

Universities, research institutions, governments and other stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the NQF evidence base by commissioning, undertaking or supporting research that aligns with the framework.

ACECQA's research and evaluation strategy (2021-24)  sets out our approach to research and evaluation under the NQF.

89% of children’s education and care services meeting or exceeding standards

View current and previous NQF Snapshots , which provide an overview of the Australian children’s education and care sector, including the progress and results of quality assessment and rating against the National Quality Standard (NQS).

NPAP report

ACECQA’s sixth annual performance report focuses on a number of aspects of the NQF.

The report highlights continuous improvement across all seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard (NQS) and developments such as the release of the national children’s education and care workforce strategy and complementary implementation and evaluation plan.

See all  Annual Performance Reports .

ACECQA publishes a series of occasional papers on different aspects of the NQF.

Quality improvement research project

A report detailing findings from research commissioned by ACECQA on the drivers of quality improvement, conducted by Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology and Edith Cowan University in 2019.

The research focused on long day care services that had improved their overall quality rating. It identified practices supporting of quality improvement in educational program and practice and governance and leadership.

Information sheets have been developed to support providers, service leaders, educational leaders and educators in all service types.

Quality improvement research project report  

Information sheet - Practical ideas to support continuous quality improvement  

Information sheet - Using your assessment and rating report to support quality improvement

Evaluations of Quality Support Program - NSW Department of Education

  Early findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care

  Stage 2 findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care

  Stage 3 findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care Quality Support Program Stage Three - Key findings

  Stage 4 findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care Quality Support Program Stage four- Key findings

To monitor changes in perceptions and experiences of regulatory burden between 2013 and 2015, ACECQA undertook a three stage longitudinal study. ACECQA conducted a fourth regulatory burden study in 2017.

Results from the 2017 and 2018 surveys are available in the National Partnership Annual Performance Reports .

Operational Activity Report

As part of our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, we make information publicly available about our operational functions including the number of Excellent rating  applications received and awarded, and how many second tier review , NQF qualification assessment  and skilled migration assessment applications we have received.

View the most recent ACECQA operational activity data including applications by month, location and outcome. The information is updated quarterly.

National Quality Framework reviews

National Quality Framework foundation

Approved learning frameworks update

Approved learning frameworks foundation

Disability Standards for Education reviews

Disability Standards for Education foundation

Spotlight reports  – topics covered include early childhood teachers, inclusive education, initial teacher education,   the value of the teaching profession, professional learning for rural, regional and remote teachers, and early career teacher induction and attrition rates.

Initial Teacher Education Data reports  – annual data reports providing key insights into the future of teaching.

Australian Teacher Workforce Data reports  – annual data reports examining the national initial teacher education pipeline and workforce characteristics.

AERO produces evidence-based resources and information for teachers and educators, including a dedicated  Early childhood practices  hub. Topics covered include  family engagement for early learning ,  executive function and self-regulation ,  early literacy  and  early numeracy .

Strategic reviews  - ASQA’s strategic review program examines serious systemic risks to Australia's vocational education and training (VET) sector. Topics covered include  Training for early childhood education and care in Australia, 2015 .

Focus on compliance - Spotlight On series  - topics covered include trainers and assessors, assessment and assessment validation.

Starting Strong VI  (2021) – Supporting Meaningful Interactions in Early Childhood Education and Care Starting Strong: Mapping quality in Early Childhood Education and Care​ (2021) Interactive platform supporting the study and measurement of factors shaping quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings Quality Beyond Regulations in ECEC Country Background Report – Australia (2021) Providing Quality Early Childhood Education and Care (2019) Results from the Starting Strong Survey 2018 Engaging Young Children (2018) – Lessons from Research about Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care Starting Strong 2017 (2017) – Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care Starting Strong V (2017) – Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education Starting Strong IV  (2015) – Monitoring quality in early childhood education and care Starting Strong III  (2011) – A quality toolbox for early childhood education and care Starting Strong II  (2006) – Early Childhood Education and Care Starting Strong I  (2001)

ACECQA collaborates with state and territory governments and other agencies on the early childhood education and care chapter of the annual Report on Government Services  (RoGS) produced by the Productivity Commission.

Families Qualitative Research Project 2018

Families Qualitative Research Project 2018 (Hall & Partners Research)

Results of qualitative research, undertaken in the first half of 2018, exploring themes including influences on parents and carers’ decision‑making processes for selecting a service and feedback on  Starting Blocks .

Families Research Project Pilot Study 2014 (Hall & Partners Research)  

Results from ACECQA’s families research (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021) are available in the NQF Annual Performance Reports .

ACECQA Annual Report - 2022

Annual Report 2021-22 Annual Report 2020-21 Annual Report 2019-20 Annual Report 2018-19 Annual Report 2017-18 Annual Report 2016-17  Annual Report 2015-16  Annual Report 2014-15   Annual Report 2013-14   Annual Report 2012-13   Annual Report 2011-12  

Guidelines for participation and support for external research and evaluation

ACECQA welcomes and encourages high quality research that contributes to the NQF evidence base. Please read these guidelines and complete the application request form if you are seeking our support for, or participation in, external research and evaluation activities.

ACECQA’s monthly newsletters highlight the latest news and information on the NQF.

Subscribe to ACECQA Newsletter

Information Publication Scheme (IPS)

Freedom of Information Disclosure (FOI)



National research infrastructure.

Australia is an established global leader in world-class research. The Australian Government helps maintain this reputation by ensuring researchers have access to cutting edge research infrastructure.

National research infrastructure (NRI) refers to the:

Infrastructure can be physical, like a supercomputer or microscope, or intangible, like a data collection or software platform.

The Australian Government has invested $4 billion over 12 years (from 2018 to 2029) to support important pieces of national research infrastructure and make sure Australian researchers can access them.

NRI is a critical platform for the research sector. It supports Australians through:

The  NRI Strategic Framework  explains the process used to identify and support important pieces of NRI. It includes:

Australian Government investments in NRI, guided by Roadmaps, funded by Research Infrastructure Investment Plans and enacted through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program, have resulted in a mature and networked suite of projects supporting Australian research

The Government develops roadmaps to guide investment in research infrastructure. They are prepared by an expert working group in consultation with the research community.

Roadmaps identify researcher needs and set priorities for Australia's national research infrastructure.

A new Roadmap is created every 5 years.

The 2021 NRI Roadmap is now available. To find the 2021 Roadmap and information on its development, visit the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap page.

The 2016 Roadmap and information on its development is also available on the departments website

Investment Plans

A Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (RIIP) provides specific funding for a set of projects that will meet Australia’s research infrastructure needs.

Research infrastructure needs are identified in the most recent Roadmap. Sometimes, new needs arise in between Roadmaps, and these can also receive funding in a RIIP.

A new Research Infrastructure Investment Plan comes out every 2 years.

The RIIP helps:

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)

The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is the program that manages Australia’s national research infrastructure.

The NCRIS program is based on a set of guidelines, most recently the 2021  and 2022 Guidelines . 

NCRIS currently supports 24 funded projects and an international membership – see for a list of currently funded projects .

The projects are led by organisations including universities, publicly funded research organisations and private companies.

The projects form a network involving over 200 delivery partnerships, and employing over 1900 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers.

You can read NCRIS case studies on the real life outcomes of research conducted at NCRIS facilities. These demonstrate the social and economic return from the investment in national research infrastructure.

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Census

The Census  collects data to help evaluate how the projects in the NCRIS program are performing. The findings  of the 2017-18 Census identified:

The census also found that for every $1 of investment the government put into NCRIS, there was total of $1.29 of co-investment from other sources.

Previous NRI Funding Programs

Funding support and initiatives for NRI prior to NCRIS include:

For direct inquiries, email [email protected]

australia government research papers

Australia's Prison Dilemma

This research paper was released on 29 October 2021.

Australia is putting more people in prison despite a fall in the number of criminal offenders. This paper looks at what is driving these trends, the costs on society and whether there are alternatives to prison that still keep the community safe but at a lower cost.

Download the paper

Australia's Prison Dilemma webinar

On 12 November 2021, the Commission hosted an online event with expert panel and Q&A, discussing:

Moderated by Michael Brennan - Chair, Productivity Commission

Panellists include:

Q&A starts at 54:40

Transcript of webinar

A transcript of the webinar will be available here shortly.

Australia's Prison Dilemma. Live online event with expert panel and Q and A.

Australia's Prison Dilemma online panel discussion

A video of the event will be available here shortly.

Australia's Prison Dilemma. Live online event with expert panel and Q and A. Why are improsonment rates rising? What is imprisonment costing the Australian community? 12 November. Register now (external link).

Live online discussion with expert panel and Q&A.

Join our panellists as we discuss these questions and more on 12 November.

Australia's Prison Dilemma: Live online event - Register now

Australia's Prison Dilemma short video

Transcript of video

Over the last 20 years our imprisonment rates have increased by more than 35 per cent and our imprisonment numbers are growing faster than almost every other developed country.

[Image] Australia is 3rd in OECD Imprisonment rate growth between 2003-2018.

So, is Australia experiencing some kind of crime wave?

No. In fact the incidence of many types of crime has been falling.

Keeping people in jail is expensive, around $330 per prisoner per day.

[Image] $10,000 per prisoner per month.

So why do we have less crime but more people in prison?

A big factor is 'tough on crime' policies such as making bail harder to access and mandatory minimum prison sentences.

Prisons play an important role in keeping the community safe from violent offenders but many people in prison are considered low risk to the community.

[Image] Violent offences 58% offenders in prison 2020. Non-violent offences 42%. 15% Low risk.

Given the very high cost of imprisonment it is sensible to look at alternatives that can keep the community safe at a lower cost.

Our report looks at a range of options that have been trialled both in Australia and overseas.

[Image] Diversion. Home detention/early parole. Rehabilitation. Case management. System targets. Knowledge base.

Find out more by reading our latest research paper.


Media Release

Australia’s prison dilemma.

Despite falling crime rates, imprisonment in Australia is at a historic high.

A report released today by the Productivity Commission says this is happening across all states and territories.

The report looks at these trends and the underlying drivers. It also investigates the benefits and costs of imprisonment and, what, if any, are the alternatives.

“It’s a complex story. There is no single reason why imprisonment has been increasing, but what we know is that ‘tough on crime’ policies have been a contributing factor.”

“This costs the taxpayer a lot but is not necessarily creating a safer society,” Commissioner Stephen King said.

While imprisonment plays an important role in Australian society, the report finds that prisons are expensive. They cost Australian taxpayers more than $5 billion per year, or more than $330 per prisoner per day.

“Despite this expense, the system isn’t working as well as it could be”, Commissioner King said. “Sixty percent of prisoners have been there before – one of the highest rates in the world.”

“For low risk prisoners this doesn’t keep society safer. We must look at alternatives,” Commissioner Richard Spencer said.

The report highlights the range of alternatives like community corrections orders, however recognises that while potentially lowering the costs, justice for victims is also an important consideration.

“Prisons are essential for violent and high-risk offenders. But there is a revolving door for people convicted of low-to-medium risk crime. We can achieve better outcomes for them and society by carefully using alternatives to prison,” Commissioner King said.

These alternatives include home detention, electronic monitoring and intensive rehabilitation programs. Our report includes several case studies where alternatives have been used both in Australia and overseas.

However a critical first step is building a stronger evidence base to guide policy decisions.

“By making better use of these alternatives there is an opportunity for the prison system to be more effective at maintaining community safety and significantly lowering the cost,” Commissioner Spencer said.

The full report on Australia’s prison dilemma can be found at: www.pc.gov.au.

Media requests

Leonora Nicol, Media Director – 0417 665 443 / 02 6240 3239 / [email protected]

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australia government research papers

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Australia Research Paper

australia government research papers

View sample Australia research paper. Browse other  research paper examples and check the list of history research paper topics for more inspiration. If you need a history research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our custom writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

Aboriginal peoples from Southeast Asia came to Australia at least forty thousand years ago. They (and the continent) remained isolated from the rest of the world until trade developed, first with islanders to the north, then, in the seventeenth century, with Europeans extending their empires. Today Australia is a culturally diversity nation-state with strong ties to the West and ever-more challenging relationships with Asia.

Australia is a sovereign nation in the Southwest Pacific, occupying a continent of nearly 7.7 million square kilometers; it is the only continent coterminous with a single nation state, and has for the majority of world history been the most isolated continent save for Antarctica. Its flora (predominantly sclerophyll [eucalyptus] forest and acacia and mallee scrubland), and its fauna (predominantly marsupials that carry and suckle their young in pouches but including monotremes, or egg-laying mammals) are distinctive. Apart from Antarctica, it is the world’s most arid continent, with large areas of semi-desert. It is profoundly influenced by the climate cycle known as El Nino / La Nina, with long droughts punctuated by seasons of heavier rainfall in the south and monsoon conditions in the north.

Originally part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland that encompassed South America and Antarctica, the land mass of Australia existed for many millions of years in total isolation until the arrival of aboriginal people from Southeast Asia at least forty (and perhaps as long as sixty) thousand years ago. Aboriginal Australians evolved a close relationship with their physical environment, but transformed it aided by the introduction of the dingo (a semi-domesticated canine species), about 3,500 to 5,000 years ago. Aboriginal people were overwhelmingly hunter-gathers who altered the composition of the forests through selective burning of vegetation. This “fire stick farming” made large sections of forest more open and suitable for the hunting of marsupials. Before human settlement, megafauna in the form of giant thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), kangaroo, and wombat-like species roamed, but were rendered extinct by a combination of aboriginal impacts and climate change. Aboriginal people gradually occupied the entire continent over thousands of years.

European Occupation

The isolation of this continent and its peoples was further breached in the centuries before European occupation. From at least 1720 and perhaps as much as three hundred years earlier, trade developed between aboriginal Australians and the islanders of present day Indonesia and New Guinea to the north; from these sources may have come rat and cat populations before Europeans arrived. The first European arrivals were the Spanish and then Dutch sailors of the early- to mid-seventeenth century in quest of trade and empire on behalf of their respective monarchs. The Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman “discovered” (in European terms) New Zealand and present day Tasmania (he called the latter Van Diemen’s Land), while the English sailor William Dampier explored the northwest coast of Western Australia in the 1688 and 1699; but it was not until 1770 that Captain James Cook discovered and claimed the eastern half of the Australian continent for Britain while on a trip of naval exploration in the Pacific.

Faced with the ever-growing numbers of prisoners produced by a draconian criminal code, the British government decided in 1786 to establish, on Cook’s recommendation of the suitability of the site, a penal colony near present day Sydney. On 26 January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip and over one thousand prisoners (whose hefty jail terms were often commuted from death sentences) established the first European settlement in New South Wales. The fledgling colony existed initially on a mixture of subsistence crops, but quickly developed coastal sealing and timber getting. The area was visited by the whalers of several European countries and of the newly formed United States. French explorers engaged in scientific research during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era indicated that the political hold of the British was at first tenuous. But the defeat of the French in the Napoleonic Wars removed that threat by 1815. Thereafter the expansion of Australia was underwritten by British naval supremacy until World War II.

Initially hemmed in by its difficult terrain and dense coastal forest, Europeans expanded settlement into the formidable barrier of the Blue Mountains in 1813. Thereafter the rich grazing and farming lands to the west of the Great Dividing Range were opened up. In 1802 and 1803, additional colonies were established in Van Diemen’s Land, where recalcitrant prisoners were sent, and in 1836, free settlers from that island pioneered a colony on the continent’s southern shores that became Victoria. In 1829, another colony on the Swan River began the white settlement of Western Australia; and in 1836 a free colony in South Australia joined the list.

Entering the World Economy

Australian history was always tied up with foreign markets for primary products, and with the vicissitudes of the evolving world economy of capitalism. By the 1820s New South Wales had developed what was to be the future nation’s first great economic staple, the merino wool industry, using sheep brought from Spain. Merino sheep were well adapted to the arid Australian environment, and their wool withstood the long ocean journey to European woolen goods factories. On the basis of wool, Australia became extremely wealthy on a per capita basis by the mid-nineteenth century. White settlers seized the land for the sheep industry from aboriginal people under the doctrine of terra nullius, or “empty land,” a doctrine that recognized no legal authority on the part of the indigenous. The British government simply claimed sovereignty, but settlers had to establish their tenure against resistant aboriginal people. Disease and the guns of whites, however, gradually reduced this obstacle to European exertion of control.

Though profitable, wool required large landholdings and relatively few laborers as shepherds. Increasingly, pastoralists controlled vast estates. Until the transportation of British prisoners to the eastern Australian colonies ceased in 1850, these large pastoralist landowners, called “squatters,” used convict labor. By the 1840s, bitter battles had broken out between the governors and the pastoralists over the acquisition of and payment for land. Already an agitation on behalf of the growing numbers of free settlers sought the end to convictism, but the social landscape was even further transformed by the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851. Many tens of thousands of European and American prospectors, and Chinese laborers rushed to the gold fields; Melbourne soon became Australia’s largest city, servicing the fields, and other gold rushes developed in Queensland and Western Australia later in the century. Gold brought intensified calls for democracy and moves toward self-government status, achieved in the middle of the 1850s for New South Wales and Victoria. The other colonies quickly followed suit.

Cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane (in the new colony of Queensland in Northeastern Australia, achieving self-government in 1859), and Sydney became entrepots (intermediate centers of trade) for the export of the land’s products, which now included not only wool but also wheat and minerals. Australia quickly developed by the late nineteenth century as one of the most urbanized societies in the world; yet much of the wealth still derived from the land; painters, poets, and novelists exhibited a fascination for “the bush” as shaping a distinctive, egalitarian, and masculinist national identity.

Australia remained throughout the nineteenth century subject to the demand pressures coming from European industrialization. The improvement of transport with faster sail ships and steamships tied the colonies ever more closely to the world economy and to Europe. Meat exports grew in the 1880s with the development of refrigeration; by 1900, the cattle industry spread across northern Australia, the nation’s last frontier. Cattle, wool, and wheat brought prosperity in the 1860s to 1890; wages were relatively high; free immigrants mainly from Britain (including Ireland) continued to enter, and society developed a racially “white” population that was said, with only a little exaggeration, to be 98 percent British. A strong middle class emerged in the cities committed to social and moral reform, but Australia was badly affected by the severe depression in the European world in the 1890s.

Class and Race, Politics and Governance

Partly as a result of that economic downturn, Australia entered a period of harsh class conflict between capital and labor; bitter strikes ensued, but the nation was not affected to any degree by Europe’s revolutionary socialism. After the labor movement’s defeat in these industrial wars, attention turned to the formation of a social democratic style of political party tied to trade unions, the Labor Party, that produced the first (but short-lived) Labor government in the world—in 1899 in Queensland. The nation was also affected by fears of racial takeover; the Chinese who had come with the gold rushes as laborers and miners posed one threat that colonists had railed against; Asian people became subject to restrictive immigration laws in the major colonies in the 1880s. The rise of Japanese power, particularly after the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904 was another development raising a threat of a “yellow peril.” This fear of external threats and the desire to overcome tensions within the class-divided society brought impetus to the movement for federation and a rising nationalism.

The political landscape was changed by the federation of the different colonies in 1901 as the Commonwealth of Australia, comprised of six states with a written constitution partly based on the American, but without a Bill of Rights and retaining the Westminster system of parliamentary government and allegiance to the Crown. The federal union was cemented by the incorporation of labor into a social settlement via a system of industrial arbitration to maintain high wages. As part of the implicit compromise non-white labor was to be excluded to placate white workers (South Sea islanders working contract labor under near-slave conditions on northern sugar plantations were sent home as a result); and women were granted federally the right to vote, one of the earliest achievements of this reform in the world. Along with New Zealand, Australia became known as a site of significant social democratic reform. The Labor Party exerted a strong influence and provided several of the early governments of the Commonwealth and states.

These social achievements and economic progress were shattered by external events of world history again—this time in the form of World War I from 1914 to 1918. Though Australia was self-governing in regard to internal affairs, it was part of the British Empire and its leaders took the nation into war against Germany alongside the mother country. Nearly sixty thousand Australian soldiers died in the conflict that followed. The war exacerbated class, religious, and other social tensions as many Australians of Irish-Catholic descent opposed the attempted introduction of military conscription. The ruling Labor Party split over the issue, and the nation entered a period of conservative rule that lasted almost unbroken until 1941.

Meanwhile, the 1920s and 1930s saw Australia in increasingly difficult economic circumstances due to the further impact of external forces of the world economy. Agricultural prices dropped worldwide in the 1920s, and the Great Depression of the 1930s hit Australia as hard as it did Germany and the United States. Australia sought and received imperial preference tariffs that tied the nation even closer to the British. The growing threat of the Japanese did likewise. Australia relied on the British navy to repel this threat. But the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II forced Australia to look to the United States after a call from the new Labor government. Hundreds of thousands of American troops passed through Australia, and the two nations fought to repel the Japanese. After the Allied victory in World War II, Australia formed a close political and strategic alliance with the United States, and sided with the Americans in the emerging Cold War. It also fought alongside the United States in the hot war that erupted in Korea (1950–1953), the Vietnam War of the 1960s, and in subsequent conflicts in Iraq (1991 and 2003–2009), and Afghanistan (beginning in 2001 and still involved as of 2010).

Internally, postwar Australia prospered once more as a result of the Cold War that raised the demand for Australian primary products, particularly wool. The nation’s terms of trade were very favorable and the high standard of living underpinned twenty- three years of continuous conservative political rule under the Liberal Party after 1949. The social composition of the nation was changed dramatically. Postwar refugees were welcomed in Australia from Europe, and to supply the labor needed for the nation’s expanding factories and mines, workers from Italy, Greece, and other European countries entered in large numbers. As a result the nation became ethnically mixed. Gone was the country largely Anglo- Celtic and composed of the earlier British and Irish immigrants and native-born stock. The ties to the motherland were further undermined by Britain’s entry to the European Common Market in 1964, a move that destroyed the old Imperial and Commonwealth trade preference system. Australia now had to find new markets, particularly in Asia, and the old enemy Japan in the 1960s and 1970s became the nation’s greatest trading partner. Later in the 1990s and after, China loomed larger as an importer of Australia’s mineral wealth. The drift towards Asia continued after 2000 and was reinforced by growing Asian migration.

Not until the 1960s had the White Australia policy, in operation since 1901, been challenged. At first came the admission of Asian students, then a cultural and social revolution from 1970 to 2000, as wave after wave of Asian immigrants from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and other places entered; refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s, Lebanon in the 1980s, and from Africa and the Middle East after 2000 added to the interracial mixture. By 2001, 22 percent of Australians were foreign born. As a result of changing immigration patterns, Islam and Buddhism joined Catholic and Protestant Christian denominations as part of the multicultural mix. Though multiculturalism was widely accepted in the 1980s, the stream of non-white and Muslim immigrants began to produce an anti-multicultural backlash that conservative politicians exploited. A different though complementary problem arose from the nation’s dependence on China for energy exports vital to the economy. This complicated fractious debates over climate change. Through its massive supply of coal and gas to Asian industrial powerhouses, Australia’s history since 2000 has become increasingly tied to global concerns about carbon dioxide emissions. A third divisive issue was Aboriginal Reconciliation. Aboriginal people received limited but significant legal victories in the early 1990s over lost land rights, and a formal apology for past wrongs committed by earlier generations came from the new Labor government in 2008. Yet the demand for further “reconciliation” and financial compensation for two centuries of discrimination continued to be controversial.

In the year 2010, with a population of about 22 million, Australia stood poised between its European heritage and American alliance on the one hand, and links to Asia on the other. As at every other point, the destiny of Australia was profoundly shaped by the patterns of trade, economic development, migration, and war that comprised world history.



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Research Paper Sample on Australia: The System of Government

As Australia prospers as a nation the debate to change from its current status of a constitutional monarchy to a Republic increasingly gains momentum. However, the 1993 referendum showed the majority of Australians don’t support this change and as John Howard an avowed monarchist colloquially argues “If it it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Australia should stop arguing this issue and move forward as we have done so well in the past.

In 1901 Australia’s separate colonies united under a constitutional monarchy embracing our independence while still respecting the cultural ties with Britain. The evolution of Australia from British colony to independent nation has seen many amendments to the constitution including The Australian Act 1986, Statute of Westminster and oath of citizenship. The Australian Republic Movement (ARM) established in 1993 by Labour Prime Minister Paul Keating argues Australia should accelerate towards a Republic despite the process is with far reaching ramifications and without substantial gains. Since the early 1900’s the pro- republic stance after 102 years advocates Australians to adopt an unclarified alternative and as Kerry Jones states, “accept an unstable system that is complex and deeply flawed”. (Article) Therefore, it can be seen that Australia’s constitutional monarchy that has matured to be a unique and effectively Australia’s system of government be continued to serve us in the future as it has in the past.

In 1998 a $35 million constitutional Convention comprising of 152 delegates agreed on a sole preposition (Appendix 1) being of minimal constitutional change in order for Australia to proclaim Republic. As a consequence of John Howard’s ultimatum various Republican models were not explored. In I999 a constitutional referendum costing $55 million, 54.87% of Australians voted against replacing the Queen and Governor General with a President who would be appointed by a two third majority of the members of the Commonwealth and, 60.60% of Australian voted against an insertion of a preamble into the constitution. (Appendix 2) The defeated referendum result contradicted the opinion shown in polls earlier (Appendix 1) that the majority of Australians supported a Republic. It seems in theory Australians want a Republic, albeit in practise active republicans have always been a minority.

The path to a Republic debate now has little chance of being successful without John Howard’s support and when only 8 referendums out of 42 to change the constitution have succeeded. Australian’s are sceptical. Les Murray a Republican, has said Australians won’t vote for a republic unless they trust it and ‘they sure can’t trust the one they are being offered at the moment (Australian 20 September 1993) Not only has the Republic debate divided Australia, it has divided republican’s themselves. (Appendix 5) “ Put any two Republicans together and they will disagree on what a republic entails” (The Defender Issue 1 May 1999 page 2) Considering, a clarified and vague republican model has been the sole proposition it is better to protect what Australia knows has already worked. To introduce an undefined Republican model Australians may possibly condemn future generations to live under an inferior system of government. A republican model must be analysed before being implemented and not after. Considering, this republican model is a blueprint it in Australia’s best interests to stay a constitutional monarchy.

Try a quicker way

The ARM aimed to make minimum constitutional changes necessary to achieve a viable Federal Republic of Australia. Therefore, it’s as if Australia need sacrifice nothing in terms of the integrity of our present political institutions and the idea that a Republic is just a change in tittle. At the same time the Republicans argue, ‘Australia needs to become a republic to demonstrate its independence, identity, and maturity.’(Mark Mc Kenna http://www.republic.org.au) Australia has by far demonstrated to have cut the umbilical cord from the motherland and formed a mature independent identity while still respecting out traditional means. “Under our system of government Australia long ago achieved complete independence symbolised by the Queen’s title being changed, by her own consent and by Act of the Australian Parliament, to Queen of Australia.” (http://www.norepublic.com.au/) Appropriate amendments to the constitution have reflected the shift in Australian society and kept up to date with the times. In 1994 the oath of allegiance was amended to remove reference to the Crown (Appendix 3) to reflect core values in Australia. The Australian Act 1986, condensed the Queens power in Australia and proclaimed that “the United Kingdom parliament now has no legislative authority whatsoever in respect of Australia” (www.alphalink.com.au) Furthermore, the role of the Governor General a rather ceremonial position has changed from being formally a Queens’s representative appointed by the British government, into an Australian appointed by the PM who takes advice from Australian Ministers. Australia’s governor general, Guy Green from Tasmania was only recently nominated by the Prime Minister. By becoming a Republic would not be an affirmation of our nationhood as we already play an independent role. The fact Australia held the Olympic games, raises their own army and diplomatic corps, engages in their own foreign affairs, treaties, determines alone their future and makes decisions eg going to Vietnam War without Britain, proves Australian’s independence from Britain. The Commonwealth is part of our history and constitutional development that serves proudly as out own. The Republicans major argument that Australia is not independence does not exist.

The Republicans have failed to consider the intricate ramifications of an Australian Republic and even what shape the new constitution should take. At the constitutional convention in 1999 no assessment of such developments were proposed and central answers are overlooked. While Republicans want to replace the Queen the enormous implication of doing so are not manufactured and new institutional foundations and restrictions of the new office established. By removing the Queen new offices must be devised and complicated mechanisms implemented. Becoming a Republic raises issues that are still not answered such as; what will become of Crown land, a resolution to the position of the states, who will be the new president, method of appointment, length of tenure, power restrictions and importantly how will be president be appointed. “ A president selected by the Prime Minister would lack democratic legitimacy; a president elected by the people would have more authority than a Prime minister elected by MP’s”. (Quote) This de position power inturn can cause struggles for power, feasible political deadlock and mean enormous alterations to the constitution. Additionally, the Australian states individually have their own monarchist constitution and in the event of become a Republic it is unclear if monarchies remain and, if not what is required to bring them into conformity with a republican Commonwealth. It can be seen that the Republican movement is far from an improvement from a constitutional monarchy. A major flaw is that the model ignores to even recognise reconciliation, an essential component of any future republic. “To declare a republic that failed to embrace reconciliation as one of it’s founding principles would not be a republic at all- nor would it be a Republic would having” (Mark Mc Kenna) Australia should vote No to Republic that does not answer Australia’s needs and will be extremely costly financially, and emotionally. If we became a Republic the Republican advisory Committee estimated in 1994 the election for a president would cost $45 million minimum each time. The constitutional monarchy should be accepted to incur no further financial costs to taxpayers on the Republican issue. The Federal Parliament’s time without doubt could be better spent debating more relevant and crucial issues.

In practise Australia is a Republic in every sense worth worrying about, the constitution derives from the people, the government is democratically elected and the PM answers to parliament. In an Advisory Committee’s report stated Australia is a ‘crowned’ Republic.

The Queen, Elizabeth II is a leading figurehead as her political responsibilities and power is very limited. In Australian she is evident on Australia’s money and far from foreign as she’s in the papers and television. There is a generation of Australian’s that take great pride in the constitution and respectably admire the Queen. (Appendix _) The Queens is an educated faithful monarch who republican admit is more appropriate for the job. “quote”. Economically a Governor General would cost far more than a Queens who only has her security paid for when in Australia. The Queens still has a place in our democratic society and to replace the Queens would create enormous upheaval with no advantage.

It is the Governor- General, and not the Queen, who exercise the powers of the Head of State, so that becoming a republic means money, time lost on a constitutional re-write that will give us what we already have. “If the republicans are right and nothing will really change, why bother? If, on the other hand, they’re playing down the extent of flow-on changes, why take the risk’? (Quote) Republican base their argument on the need to being independent and have an Australian as head of state but when we already have both there is no reason to risk changing.

The republican movement may be an inevitable event in Australia’s with a welcoming future generation. It is important to maintain an open mind to different Republican models. It is not out of the question undertake radical amendments to their constitutions it must be remembered in the 1890’s the dramatically changes turned out to be a successful constitution. It seems in theory Australians want a republic but not in practise, until terms offered are clarified and understood. There is a low level of public understanding on the matter and a number of hurdles to jump before Australia can even comp template implementing a Republican model. It’s only when political division is ironed out and society gains the real Republican agenda a referendum would be of no success.

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