Federation The move to federation was not an easy one; there was lots of debating and disagreement, as Alfred Deakin wrote in 1900 its accomplishment must always appear to have been secured by a series of miracles. It was not until the late 1880s that a movement towards federation really started to gather strength. Before this the colonies held the believe that federation would do little for them, they were too busy in there own local problems. However a sense of nationalism was growing and Australia was primarily an Anglo Saxon, English speaking country and Australians were determined to keep it that way. By the 1880s 70% of Australian people were native born, these Australians regarded Australia as home. Australians had also become worried about the number of Chinese immigrants coming into Australia during the gold rush.
There were also pacific islanders who came to work in Queensland on the sugarcanes. There were a lot of problems with defence during the mid 1880s, the activities of Germany and France coursed concerns Because they were growing in power and they were interested in countries nearby. These countries were New Guinea and New Caledonia. States could not hold out attacks, They would need a united nation to help them. There were also problems of communication, train lines between the states were different widths.
This meant that the passengers had to get of the train at each off the borders and wait for the train on the other sides. This also caused problems with defence, soldiers had to get of and wait for another train. This takes up time. In 1880 the father of federation Henry Parkes, also the premier of New South Wales suggested the formation of a federal council to address the publics questions about federation. This council was not formed until 1885.
New Zealand were involved with the federal council but did not continue for long because their representatives found it to far to travel. In 1898 the constitution was put forward to the people (the constitution is the peoples rights and duties). Voting is not compulsory and women are not allowed to vote. The voters in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia all agreed with the constitution, but the voters in New South Wales and Queensland did not agree. In 1899 the constitution was revised to make it more acceptable to the New South Wales and Queensland voters. The revised constitution was accepted by all the states (except Western Australia, which did not vote) and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed.
Henry Parkes did not live long enough to see the Commonwealth of Australia. He died in 1896. The Commonwealth of Australia was officially named on the 1st of January 1901 with Edmond Barton named unofficially Prime Minister. The first Commonwealth election was in March in 1901 and that was when Edmond Barton was officially named Prime Minister. A year later in 1902 woman were given the right to vote.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Landmarks The Macmillan Company of Australia PTY LTD 1969 Ghostworks Longman Cheshire 1990 Geography.