Australian Independence as a Nation Colonised by Britan

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In 1901 six British colonies joined to become one nation, Australia. Although 1901 was when Australia became its own country, it is unsure and a debateable decision as to when Australia became independent, both legally and politically from its founder, the British. Some say Australia achieved its true independence on the 1st January 1901 with the formation and introduction of the Australian Constitution. Others say Australia’s independence was not attained until the adoption of the Westminster Act in 1942. While it can be argued that Australia is still under the influence of Britain and until we become a republic we cannot be truly independent. This essay will discuss all of the above arguments and the steps the former British colonies took towards federation in 1901 and the steps Australia has taken since then, also what ties Australia to Britain in this day and age. When America declared independence in 1776 this caused many problems for England and the rest of Great Britain. One particular problem was that they had nowhere to send their convicts and as England was a growing country this created a problem which needed to be rectified. It was suggested that a country, now known as Australia, which Captain Cook had discovered in 1770 would be perfect for this use. In 1788 the first fleet arrived and Captain Arthur Phillip declared himself the Governor. In the next 100 years there were a series of statutes which began to create the political and legal system of this new land. The New South Wales Act, the Australian Courts Act, the Australian Constitutions Act, the Australian Constitutions Act (no 2) and the Colonial Laws Validity Act all played major parts in the establishment of Australia. At this time the parliament and the courts of this new nation had the power to create laws and govern themselves, only if it did not conflict with any law or fundamental principle of the English. So in effect Australia could only reinforce laws and ways of government already in place in England. (_Galligan & Walsh_ 1990, Irving 1999a) Some authors argue that from this point on Australia was independent and had the full power from this day to separate itself totally from Britain. As section 128 of the Constitution stated that the constitution could only be amended by the Australian public, via a referendum. But Australia had further steps to separate itself completely from England, and it would be many years until Australia would become independent, and even longer until the Australian officials and public would realise this. (_Irving_ 1999b) An integral step Australia took was their participation in World War 1 and World War 2, and more so in the former when Australia disregarded orders from England and returned home to defend Australia under attack from the Japanese. In 1919 Australia began to take an individual stance on an international level by requested to sign the Treaty of Versailles separate from Britain. A major happening in the road to independence was firstly in 1926; the Governors-General were no longer agents of Britain and no longer owed their first interest to them, now their first interest lie in Australia. Than in 1930, the sovereign no longer appointed the Governors-General on the recommendation of British Ministers. This meant that even though the Governors-General represented the Queen and the rest of the Monarchy, their first interest was Australia. And from this point on the Monarchy was holding less and less interest in Australia and letting the Governors-General exercise his powers too his own discretion. (_Irving_ 1999a, Irving 1999b, Smith 1992) 1931 saw the British Government pass the Statute of Westminster, which stated that England would not make laws for their dominions unless they were specifically asked to by the dominions. The Statute of Westminster was not effective until Australia adopted the act, which Australiadid not do till 1942, which they then backdated to 1939, because of their decision to...
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