Australia History: The Contemporary Age


The history of Australia in the course of the century. XX was a story of continuous economic and social progress, scarcely influenced by the alternation of the various parties in power which, not being divided by great ideological differences, often established alliances among themselves. For ideal and practical reasons (exports to Great Britain, military defense, etc.) Australia has always been very united with Great Britain, so much so that it coldly welcomed the so-called Westminster Statute of 1931, which created the British Commonwealth, an association of States (United Kingdom and Dominions) on an equal footing, and only in 1942 gave it full execution. In both World Wars I and II, Australia was a staunch ally of Great Britain. In 1914 the decision to enter the war, taken by the liberal-conservative cabinet, chaired by J. Cook, and confirmed a few months later by the Labor cabinet chaired by WM Hughes, materialized with the participation of Australian troops, who with the New Zealand troops formed the ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps), to war operations (defense of the Suez canal, attempted occupation of the Gallipoli peninsula, operations in France). In 1939, Australia’s entry into the war was decided by a coalition government, formed by the A. Party. Unita, headed by former Labor WM Hughes, and by the National Party, headed by AW Fadden. In February 1941 the Labor Party, led by J. Curtin, who had risen to the government, confirmed the decision of their predecessors. Australian troops participated in operations in the Near East and North Africa and, after the Japanese declaration of war, were recalled to their homeland for use in the Pacific Ocean chessboard. The changed global political-strategic balance, which occurred at the end of the conflict,ANZUS, the SPC (South Pacific Commission) and the Colombo Plan. Labor and liberal-conservatives had thus alternated at the helm of the country from 1945: after a long period dominated by the Liberal Party of JM Fraser (1975-83), in 1983 the Labor Party of R. Hawke took over, which maintained its primacy until to 1996 when he was defeated by a coalition of nationalists and liberals, whose leader John Howard assumed the office of prime minister in March and was reconfirmed, albeit by a narrow margin, in the early political elections held in October 1998.

A further success for Howard was also given by the outcome of the 1999 referendum: called to choose between maintaining of the monarchy and a republican form of government, still within the British Commonwealth, the electorate was strongly in favor of the monarchy. In the last decade of the century. XX, the issue of relations between ethnic groups also entered the political debate, raised by the strong immigration received after the war and by the questions that remained unresolved in the relations between the population of European origin and the aborigines. With the Supreme Court decree (March 1995) on the validity of the Native Title Act, approved in 1993, a new title was established and indigenous peoples were granted rights to certain lands, in the event that they were able to prove a continuous and direct link with the land in question. Some large demonstrations, however, in 2001 still raised the problem of partial apartheid of the aborigines and the growing intolerance towards new immigrants. The sec. XXI opened for Australia with a further confirmation of an alliance with the United States: in fact, Howard, after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, provided his military support to the US armed forces in the attack on the ‘Afghanistan. And precisely this policy, which had once again confirmed Australia’s accession to Great Britain in a new war, favored the Liberal Prime Minister Howard in the subsequent legislative elections in November of the same year, which reconfirmed his mandate for the third time.. The 2004 legislative elections, held in the midst of the Iraqi crisis (As a country located in Oceania listed on physicscat, Australia had sent a contingent to support the US in 2003), However, they confirmed Howard once again, thanks to economic growth and low unemployment. In November 2007 the legislative elections were held, won by Labor with 53.3% of the votes, while the right went with 46.7%. Later Labor Kevin Rudd was appointed prime minister. Later the government began the withdrawal of troops present in Iraq, while strengthening the peacekeeping contingent in East Timor. In June 2010, Rudd resigned following a no-confidence vote by his party. His deputy Julia Eileen Gillard was appointed in his place. In September 2013, the liberal-national coalition led by Tony Abbott won the elections.

Australia History - The Contemporary Age

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