During the period of 1900-1945, which Australian laws were enacted?

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By Kristy Tolley

During the period of 1900-1945, Australia underwent significant changes, both political and social. The country experienced a growth that led to the enactment of several laws to regulate and maintain its growth and stability. While some of these laws were beneficial to the citizens, others were discriminatory and oppressive in nature, particularly towards minority groups. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the laws that were enacted during this period.

The Immigration Restriction Act (1901):

The Immigration Restriction Act, also known as the White Australia Policy, was introduced in 1901. This law aimed to restrict immigration to Australia from non-European countries. It required that all immigrants pass a dictation test in a European language in order to enter the country. This Act was controversial, as it was seen as a means of protecting Australia’s ‘racial purity’ and keeping it a predominantly white nation. The Act was repealed in 1958, after several years of protests and campaigns.

The Pacific Islander Labourers Act (1901):

This Act was introduced in the same year as the Immigration Restriction Act. It aimed to regulate the employment of Pacific Islanders in the Australian labour market. It required that all Pacific Islanders in Australia be registered and have a work permit, and it prohibited them from changing employers without permission. This Act was seen as discriminatory and oppressive, and was eventually repealed in 1906.

The Electoral Act (1902):

The Electoral Act was introduced in 1902, and it was one of the most significant laws enacted during the period. It gave women in Australia the right to vote and stand for election. This Act was a result of years of campaigning by women’s suffrage groups, and it was a significant milestone for women’s rights in Australia.

The Commonwealth Franchise Act (1902):

The Commonwealth Franchise Act was introduced in the same year as the Electoral Act. It extended the right to vote to all men and women over the age of 21, regardless of their race or nationality. This Act was significant, as it marked a move towards greater political inclusivity and democracy in Australia.

The Invalid and Old Age Pensions Act (1908):

This Act provided financial support to elderly and disabled Australians. It was introduced as a means of addressing poverty and social inequality in Australia, and it was a significant step towards establishing a welfare state in the country.

The Maternity Allowance Act (1912):

The Maternity Allowance Act provided financial support to women during pregnancy and childbirth. It was introduced as a means of improving maternal and infant health, and it was a significant step towards ensuring the well-being of mothers and children in Australia.

The War Precautions Act (1914):

The War Precautions Act was introduced at the start of World War I. It gave the government broad powers to regulate and control the economy, media, and social life in Australia. It was seen as necessary at the time, but it was also controversial, as it restricted civil liberties and freedoms.

The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Act (1915):

This Act was introduced to regulate the lives of Indigenous Australians in Australia. It gave the government broad powers to control and regulate all aspects of Indigenous life, including their movement, employment, and education. It was a discriminatory and oppressive law that had a significant impact on Indigenous Australians for many years.

The Industrial Relations Act (1926):

The Industrial Relations Act was introduced to regulate the relationship between employers and employees in Australia. It established a system of conciliation and arbitration for resolving disputes in the workplace. This Act was significant, as it was a means of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair and just working conditions.

The Land Tax Assessment Act (1910):

The Land Tax Assessment Act was introduced as a means of redistributing wealth in Australia. It imposed a tax on large landholdings, with the aim of reducing economic inequality and promoting social justice.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission Act (1932):

The Australian Broadcasting Commission Act established the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), which is Australia’s public broadcaster. The ABC was established as a means of promoting independent and impartial news and media in Australia.

Conclusion:

The period of 1900-1945 was a time of significant change and growth in Australia. During this time, several laws were enacted that shaped the country’s political and social landscape. While some of these laws were beneficial and progressive, others were discriminatory and oppressive. It is important to understand the impact of these laws in order to learn from past mistakes and work towards a more just and equitable society.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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