Tefore 1901, Australia didn’t exist, there were only 6 separate colonies Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. These colonies were partly self-governed but expect to the law-making which was controlled by the British Parliament. Each of the colonies had their laws, railway system, postal stamp, taxes, and army. These colonies decided to unite and become one nation which also, formed the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia accomplished federation in peace, unlike America which achieved federation by war.
In 1889 Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales urged the colonies to confederate. The following year Parkes held the first convention to draft a federal constitution in Melbourne in February. One representative from each colony attended a special meeting to discuss how to form a new federation. The colonies agreed the following year that they would begin to work on a constitution for Australia. Eventually, the representatives had an agreement on new rules for the federal system and draft a federal constitution. The Australia Federal conference recommended a National Conference to draft a constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia.
The First National convention was held in Sydney on March 1891 and was chaired by Parkes. The reason for this convention was to consider the draft of the constitution for the planned federation for all the colonies and New Zealand. The convention spent 5 weeks discussing and composing the draft of the constitution. Since this was a National Convention all the British Colonies and the New Zealand Parliament attended this convention. There were 46 delegates at the convention, chosen by the seven colonies parliaments. During the convention, it was decided that Edmund Barton would be Australia’s first prime minister.
In 1893, the first “people convention” at Corowa, New South Wales was held. The people’s conference urged the colonial parliaments to hold a new convention to decide on a draft federal constitution. A referendum was held asking the people to ratify the draft constitution. The colonial parliaments passed an act that would allow the direct election of delegates to a new federation convention which would decide on a draft federal constitution. John Quick was a politician and a Victorian delegate. He suggested that preparations for a new bill for the Federal Constitution of Australian. John then drafted an Australian Federal Congress bill that the Federation League embraced and issued. The bill was enacted in 1900 and came into operation on the first of January 1901.
In 1985, a special premier’s conference was held in Hobart at which most of the colonies agreed to a quick proposal. Queensland feared that federation would mean the loss of its Pacific Islander Labour force and decided to not take part. By this stage New Zealand had chosen to no takes part in the federation process.
In 1896, the Bathurst Federal League held a second people’s conference in Bathurst, New South Wales, to renew calls from previous federation conventions. The conference was held on Monday 16 November at approximately 10.40am. 150 delegates attended this conference, but there were quite less than the predicted 250 from each of the colonies. This conference presented the opening of the first people’s Federal Convention. In March 1896 eventually, an election for the conference delegates was held in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. (delete this paragraph)
During 1897 and 1998 a second National Convention was scheduled. The National Convention met three times in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. The convention consisted of representatives elected from each colony except Queensland. The first draft of the constitution created in 1891 was closely discussed and debated. Additional rules were added on the second draft of the constitution. A significant adjustment made to the constitution was that senators would be elected by the public and not by the state parliament. The new draft also determined the size of the House of Representatives and the Senate. On 16 March 1989, the convention decided to form a draft bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia. After the public approved of the draft bill for the Commonwealth of Australia. Each of the six colonies was asked to approve the constitution in a referendum. (delete this paragraph)
On June 1898 referendums were held in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, to ask the public to ratify the constitution. Some campaigns urged people to vote ‘yes’. But on the other side, there were anti-federation groups, urging people that federation would weaken the parliaments and that free interstate trade would result in lower wages and job loss. The referendum was approved in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. But even though a majority of New South Wales voters voted ‘yes’ they didn’t get 80 000 votes needed as a minimum for a federation to successful go ahead. Western Australia and Queensland were scared that federation would give New South Wales and Victoria more control, so they decided not to hold referendums.
In January 1899 the premiers held a secret meeting and agreed to make further changes to the constitution. Western Australia’s premier chose no to attend this meeting. The reason for this meeting was to get New South Wales and Queensland support on the federation. To satisfy Queensland and New South Wales, there had made some changes to the Constitution.
Between April and July referendum were held in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania at which a majority of the votes were ‘yes’ to the bill. Queensland had waited until New South Wales would federate before they held a referendum. But on the 2 September Queensland held a referendum. Western Australia still refused to take part in the federation.
The constitution had been agreed by the British Parliament but before federation could continue. In March 1900 a representative from all five colonies and an observer from Western Australia travelled to London to present the constitution to the British Parliament. On the 5 July 1900, the Commonwealth of Constitution Act was passed by the British Parliament and was signed by Queen Victoria on 9 of July. On 31 July Western Australia became the last colony to hold a referendum and which majority of voters approved the constitution.
On 1 January 1901 New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania united and become states of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth of Australia. On 29 and 30 March the first Commonwealth election was held. Also, on 9 may the Duke of Cornwall and York opened the first parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.
There were many laws made by the Federal Parliament between 1901-1914. The Immigration Act. of 1901 was introduced by Edward Barton, the first Australian Prime Minister. Australia didn’t want anyone who wasn’t white to enter their country and they also removed immigrants who already were living in Australia. The Harvester Judgement act. of 1906. Which meant employers who did not grant a fair and reasonable wage would have to pay tax for all the products they sold. This was excellent for workers because it meant that employers had to pay them a minimum of 2 pounds per hour and 2 shillings per week. So workers would be able to afford food, shelter and clothing for their families.
Between 1891-94, all the colonies hit a hard economic depression which resulted in the colonies losing interest in the federation. Economic depression caused closure and collapses many of the banks, it ruined the bank’s system. People who had savings in building societies, as well as those who borrowed heavily didn’t have enough money to pay it back. Businessmen, farmers and others weren’t able to pay their overdraft, thousands of large and small investors were ruined. This left many people unemployed and which lead to many a huge amount of poverty.
When the world went through the Industrial Revolutions machines took over people’s jobs. It was a time of new inventions, methods and products. Worker’s wages were as little as 11 cents per hour for men. Women who worked in the workforce would get paid half as much as men and children were close to barley nothing. Workers worked an average of 40 hours per week and didn’t get paid extra for overtime. Working conditions were awful and weren’t regularly cleaned.
Which meant it was easy to catch dangerous diseases which sometimes caused death. It was not unusual for workers to get injured during work because workers weren’t given any protective gear. Families were much larger than what they are today. It was not uncommon to have more than eight children. Children were expected to start working by the age of eight. Child labour was common, the children had to do many jobs they weren’t qualified for, in nasty conditions. Due to the low income, it was hard to live, buy, save and cope in these conditions.
The high class lived in houses on top of hills, away from factories pollution. Their houses had many bedrooms, a kitchen and an inside toilet, which would be cleaned regularly. The richer they were the larger house because the more money they had the more they could afford. The housing conditions were much more sanitary than the lower class and people had less of a chance of catching diseases. If they happened to catch a disease, they had the treatment to treat it.
The lower class lived at the bottoms of hills in ‘slums’, which was surrounded by pollution and diseases. The bottom of the hills was unsanitary and not safe to live in. Houses were made from prefabricated iron which was designed by people with no skills. Iron houses would be extremely cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. Even though the houses were poorly made they gave shelter for thousands of people. The houses were very small, and more than 10 people lived in one house, which made it overcrowded. The houses only contained two or no rooms. Due to the low wages, the lower class struggled to pay for rent, food and clothes.