To what extent was Australia cohesive or divided between 1918 and

To what extent was Australia
cohesive or divided between
1918 and 1929.
• White Australia Policy – collective racism
• Men, money, markets
• Repaying our heroes – intent toward soldiers
• Women – less restricted.
• International relations
• Fear of communism exploited by conservative parties to stay in office.
• Social changes – cohesion and division
• Domination of conservative parties
• Urbanisation
• Illusion of cohesion re: Politics
• MMM – appeared strong and cohesive – bad / divisive impacts later.
• Racism – cohesive force
• Desire for British protection
• Nationalism / national identity post WW1.
• Entertainment
• Coalition government
• Amongst Aboriginal people
• Optimism
• Pro-Empire
• Modernisation
• Roaring Twenties
• Distrust of Labor
• Fashion
Anti-Labor – exploited fear of communism
Industrial relations / unrest
Politically more divided than cohesive.
Trade unionists versus the government
Second half of 1920s = social / economic division
Returned soldiers versus workers
Soldier Settlement Schemes
Racism – Aboriginal Australians, migrants. United whites.
Changing values and women
Aboriginal Australians
Conscription debate
Indigenous Australians – alienated from changes of the period. Stolen generations.
Actions of government toward trade unions.
Pro-republic v British loyalists
Those that fought versus those that did not.
Economy divided – certain groups excluded, MMM, Racist approach, exclusion of
Aboriginal Australians.
Conservatives v progressive / Wowsers v progressives
‘Radical Labor’
Labor split 1916 still had effects into 1920s.
Class divisions – some not able to enjoy benefits, wages, strikes, govt. did little to
Working class v upper class – economy = contradictions
Religion – protestant v catholic
Technological change – most couldn’t afford it. Amplified class divisions.
Women – conflicts
Men, Money, Markets – racist and unfair – led to more problems than it solved.
PM Bruce – divided society
Coalition government
Right wing v left wing
Beginning of Great Depression – how to respond?
Young v old
1922 elections – division – need for coalition + internal divisions.
Physical divisions – rich in suburbs, poor in inner city.
Existing divisions widened throughout period.
Country Party – represented rural v urban divide
Preferential voting
Spanish Influenza
Traditional Values v new / changing values
Hughes v Page v own party – internal division in Nationalist party
Government did little to help needy.
Bruce-Page government sided with employers
Victorian Police strikes
• Introduction:
• Key elements of cohesion:
• A paragraph on each of two – three key elements.
• Key elements of division:
• A paragraph on each of two – three key elements.
• Conclusion:
• Introduction
• Society – cohesion / division
• Economics – cohesion /division
• Politics – cohesion / division
• Conclusion
Australian society 1918 - 1929
Australian society in the 1918 – 1929 period is complex to
analyse. There were numerous events that give the
impression that the period was a cohesive one and that
division was limited. For example, there was a shared and
cohesive attitude toward repatriating and helping the
Diggers following World War One, and that society owed
them a debt for their service. There was a growing view
too that women’s role in society was changing, and the
fight for further autonomy for women was a galvanising
one. Australia too experienced the ‘Roaring Twenties’, a
period in which many sectors of society were suddenly able
to share in the boom in mass entertainment, and people
from different sides of the country could share in the same
radio programs or movies. Despite these indications of
cohesion, Australian society was in fact much more divided
than it first appears.
Australian society 1918 - 1929
In the 1918 – 1929 period, Australian society was divided for
a number of reasons, many of which had their roots in the
decades that preceded this period. For example, the
conscription debate of World War One was an incredibly
divisive issue in Australian society. It exposed and deepened
divisions that already existed in society, and opened new
ones. These included religious divisions (Irish Catholic v.
Protestant British) and class divisions (working class v. upper
classes) and more. The divisions associated with the
conscription debate continued into 1920s, and were exposed
again and again, particularly over the issue of industrial
relations. Other clear demonstrations of division in this period
are the treatment and experience of Aboriginal Australians,
non-British / European migrants and the working classes…
Australian economy
The Australian economy in the 1918 – 1929 period was also in many
ways cohesive. While class divisions based on wealth obviously
existed, and the working class continued to agitate for better pay and
conditions, the economy itself appeared quite solid in this period.
During the 1920s, Australia continued to rely on exports of primary
produce, mainly wool and wheat. The Bruce-Page policy of ‘Men,
money, markets’ was well supported too, at least initially. It called for
increases in immigration, which were to come from Britain, loans
from British investors, and the pursuit of overseas markets for
Australian products. The idea of assisting migrants from Britain, while
socially divisive in some ways, was preferable to an influx of nonBritish / European migrants. So too was the idea of loans for
Australian businesses to invest with. In these ways, we can say the
Australian economy in this period was reasonably cohesive. However,
this does not mean the economy was strong in this period.
Australian economy
While approaches toward the Australian economy may
have been reasonably cohesive, the economy itself had
a number of fundamental weaknesses which ultimately
led to significant political and economic weaknesses…
Australian politics
It must be said that Australian politics for most of this
period was relatively cohesive. While the period began
and ended with significant division, most of the period
itself was dominated by conservative governments and
parties. This saw a slowing of the progressive reforms
that had characterised the early years of the Australian
Commonwealth. Many Australians had tired of the
division associated with the conscription debate, and
mistrusted the Labor party after the split during World
War 1. As a result, conservative politicians were able
Example introductions:
Post-war Australia was a time of many things – great optimism and
hope as the Nation emerged from war, a sense of national identity and
a sense of confidence in the future. For many, this was a time of great
growth and social change. For many others, this was simply not the
case, and the positives of the time did not reach them. While it can be
said that Australia was cohesive for many reasons, it can also be said
that it was divisive for just as many reasons, if not more.
Australia between 1918-1929 shifted from unity to division. 1918 marked
the end of the Great War which had effected Australia significantly. The
1920s was a period for Australians to overcome the war years and enjoy an
era of social change and newfound freedom. It was also a period of turmoil,
a time with social and economic extremes and conflict. Lives of many were
changed by new forms of entertainment, mass production and hopes of a
prosperous future. There were others that missed out entirely on the
benefits of the age. By 1918 Australia was far less cohesive than it was in
the pre-war days, Australian society was deeply divided due to political
issues (a later effect of the conscription controversy), frustration over
growing imbalance of wages and the cost of living and Aboriginal Australian
segregation. However, factors such as the White Australian Policy and
technological advancements provided a cohesive force for many
Australia in the 1920s was a time of turmoil which had cohesive and divisive
elements to an extent. The ‘Roaring Twenties’ was a time of false prosperity
even though some lived with the benefits of the technological
developments of the era. After World War One there was a stable
government at the helm of Australian politics but there was conflict
between old conservative values and ideas and that of the new radical ideas
and values due to the revolution of technology. Some elements that were
significant in dividing and unifying Australia included the White Australia
Policy, the Men, Money, Markets idea and the views of women post World
War One. Even though there were cohesive elements to an extent between
1918 and 1929, there were more significant divisive factors during this era.
Australia in the 1920s had some cohesive and divisive elements.
Australia, as a new nation, had emerged from the war confident and
proud. It was a time of relative stability and growth. Politically, the
conservative parties and the majority of support for them led to
cohesion, but internal division and conservative ideas against
progressive ideas led to division. Economically, the ‘men, money,
markets’ scheme led to cohesion and industrial unrest led to division.
Socially, technology and national pride led to cohesion and
conservative views led to division. Overall, Australia was cohesive to a
greater extent than it was divisive.
Many factors contributed to cohesion and division in Australia during
1918 and 1929. This period in many nations was known as the ‘Roaring
Twenties’, a time when industry expanded, Australia was modernised and
politics was stable. Those that were not included in the prosperity of the
1920s were left to suffer the conservative and traditional ways of life.
Australia was both a cohesive and divided nation. The idea of Australia
being prosperous and an egalitarian state contributed to cohesion,
however, in reality, divisive elements were visible. Australia during this
time can be separated into politics, that is, specifically the Bruce-Page
government and their opposition to Labor and Trade Unions, economics,
society, including; women, entertainment and the treatement of
indigenous Australians and international relations, these factors either
were a cohesive or divisive force.