The Commonwealth of Australia

The half-century following the discovery of gold not only laid the ethnic-demographic, economic and social foundations of a new people in the southern hemisphere, emerging from the fertile womb of the great British mother, but also the political foundations of its national constitution, with the creation in 1900 of an Australian Federation, the Commonwealth of Australia. Coeval with the same introduction of representative institutions and responsible government in the Australian colonies, just over the middle of the century. XIX, the federal idea had been hindered more than favored by the same uniformity of soil, climate, race, language, products of the Australian colonies; which, jealous of their political and economic autonomy with regard to their sister colonies, no less than the mother country, had molded their lives on the mold of the most narrow provincialism, even economic, as well as political. The railways themselves were of different gauge, from colony to colony. Only a principle of implementation, and even this more formal than substantial, had the federal idea found in the creation of a Federal Council of Australasia, promoted by the premier of New South Wales, Enrico Parkes, designed in Sydney in 1883 by a convention of colonial delegates, approved by the four legislatures. on the seven Australian colonies (New South Wales, Victoria and New Zealand abstained) and voted by the English Parliament in 1885 with the Federal Council Australasia Act (48 and 49 Vict. C. 60). The entry of Germany into the colonial stage after 1880, with its first plans for the constitution of a world empire, of which the Dutch heritage should have been the broadest base and the Pacific Ocean the favorite theater; and, more particularly, the German occupation of northeastern New Guinea in 1884, was, in the still lack of internal stimuli, the first external stimulus on the path of the new colonial federation, favored by England rather than hindered in those years of imperialist awakening. British. Not for nothing, in fact, at the first rumors of meditated German occupation of New Guinea, the colony of Queensland, to force the hand of the imperial government, had taken possession of the island ” This instead took notable steps after 1890 under the influence especially of the aforementioned great economic crisis of 1893, which showed the Australians the economic solidarity that held all the colonies together over the political and customs barriers, regional rivalries, of colonial and individual political jealousies, of the diversity of interests and local views. In 1893, in fact, a congress of local pro federation leagues, held in Corowa, proposed that the desired federal constitution be drafted by an Australian convention directly elected for this purpose by the population of the individual colonies. Advancing in the most acceptable form to the workers’ democracies ruling in the individual colonies and at the most opportune moment, Corowa’s proposal succeeded in fully triumphing in the following years. Inside, one felt the convenience if not the need to reorganize the entire Australian economy on a wider basis, with the demolition of the existing barriers between colony and colony and with the establishment of a single market; while on the outside, the question of the imperial federation was then placed, so to speak, on the agenda of the immense British Empire, and the most authoritative English statesmen urged their colleagues from the antipodes, flattering their self-love, to a Australian Intercolonial Federation. The related constitution, which became the personal platform of a shrewd and ambitious politician, Reid, then Prime Minister of New South Wales (the same Reid who four years earlier had fought the plans of his predecessor Parkes in the government); elaborated in Australia and Tasmania itself (New Zealand kept itself out of the movement) over the course of three years, through a series of projects and counter-projects; passed twice for the scrutiny of the colonial legislatures and of popular referendum ; presented to the imperial government and made the subject of long disputes between it (that Chamberlain was then minister for the colonies in the unionist cabinet of Lord Salisbury, who embodied the imperialist ideal in himself) and the Australian delegates, in order to find the formula that would reconcile, in an admissible constitutional fiction, the substantial independence of the proposed intercolonial federation with its formal dependence on the British crown; it was finally approved by the king on July 9, 1900, bringing together all six colonies of Australia and Tasmania in a single political body. Only New Zealand remained, which a few years later, in 1907, received the title of Dominion and thus it too was placed, before the British imperial government, politically and juridically on the same footing as the Australian Commonwealth. On 15 December of the same year, the first governor general of the Commonwealth of Australia, Lord Hopetown, former governor of Victoria, arrived in Sydney, its provisional capital ; and with the new century, on 1 January 1901, the second in order of time among the great autonomous colonial federations of the British Empire inaugurated its existence.

Its political constitution was as follows. Executive power rests with the British sovereign, whose representation is exercised by a governor general appointed by the crown for an indefinite period and salaried by it, but at the expense of the Australian budget. The governor is assisted for this purpose by a federal executive council composed of executive councilors chosen by the governor and who remain in office as he or she chooses: this council includes the federal ministers appointed by the governor (on condition, however, that within three months of their appointment they are members of parliament) and by the revocable governor. All the other officers of the federal executive power are appointed and dismissed by the same governor general in the council. A parliament is invested with federal legislative power, consisting of the English sovereign (represented for this purpose by the governor general) and two chambers, a smaller one or Senate, and a larger one or House of Representatives. The senate is composed of senators elected by the same electoral body that elects the representatives, and with the same rules in force in the individual states for elections to the Chamber, in equal numbers for each original state of the federation or in any case not less than 6, for the duration of 6 years, but with renewal for half every three years. The House of Representatives is composed of a number of members possibly double that of the senators, elected for three years, in a number proportional to the population of each individual state, but with the proviso that each original state has at least 5 representatives. Only those strictly listed in the constitution and grouped into three categories are matters of the federation’s legislative competence; common defense, economic union, private law unity. As for the powers of the two federal assemblies, the House of Representatives has pre-eminence over the other: not only for its exclusive right of initiative in financial and tax matters (in tax matters, indeed, the Senate as well as the right of initiative, has no not even that of amendment); but because in the event of a conflict between the lower and upper chambers, the constitution ensures the triumph of the former. This constitutional relationship between the two chambers would be enough, even leaving aside the preparatory work for the constitution itself, to highlight the purely parliamentary conception of government (of pure English origin) of the Australian constituent. It is a genuine cabinet government, appointed by the governor-general, but accountable to parliament, indeed to its lower house. The laws, passed in both chambers, are submitted to the approval, in the name of the sovereign, by the governor general, except in the case of laws to be approved directly by the sovereign by mandatory constitutional provision. The governor general can approve them or send them back to the chambers with amendments or reserve them for the direct approval of the sovereign. However, the latter always has the right to reject the law within one year of the approval of the governor general, or to void the law reserved for its real approval by not announcing this within the two-year period. The federal judicial power is vested in a supreme federal court called the High Court of Australia in addition to any federal courts creating the parliament and those invested by it with federal jurisdiction. The High Court knows and judges as a final appeal of all decisions of other federal judicial courts and of the supreme courts of individual states, in cases for which, prior to the creation of the federation, appeal by such colonial supreme courts to the sovereign in the council. In principle, even in the Australian federal constitution, the royal prerogative of a special appeal permit from the High Court to His Majesty in Council is saved; except always, however, the right of the Australian Parliament to limit by law (to be reserved for royal consent) the subject in which such permission may be requested; and also with the exception of constitutional matters, when the High Court itself does not certify that the question for special reasons is such as to be decided by His Majesty in the Council. This clause was the last way out found in the clash between the Australian constituent and the British imperial government, relative to the most delicate point of political relations between the Commonwealth of Australia and the British Empire: that is, the appeal from the Federal High Court to His Majesty in the Council in constitutional matters; last trench and formal recognition of imperial power over autonomous colonies. Excluded in the final draft federal constitution, presented by the Australian colonies, this appeal had instead been tenaciously claimed by the imperial government until the last; who also had given up, after some struggle, over the other two very delicate ones, that of the faculty of the Australian federal parliament to legislate on the same foreign affairs of the Australian Federation and its relations with the Pacific islands, and that of the faculty of the same parliament to further extend, on the demand of the states, its legislative powers to matters previously reserved, for the Australian colonies as well as for the other autonomous colonies, to imperial power.

Worthy of note in addition to the three powers – legislative, executive, judicial – is, in the Australian federal constitution, a fourth power, intended to maintain equality between state and state and to reconcile, as far as possible, the independence of individual states in economic matter with the political unification of the entire continent. This power is entrusted to an Interstate Commercial Commission composed of members appointed for seven years by the Governor General and not revocable before the term, without an address from both federal chambers in the same parliamentary session. Taken from the jealous care of their autonomy, indeed even of their effective sovereignty, to a perfect federal type, on the model of the United States of America; the Australian colonies on the other side, driven by the parliamentary democratic tradition inherited from the metropolis and strengthened in the new social environment, and even more by the reluctance to entrust the broader political powers to a governor appointed at the antipodes of the British government, they tended to a parliamentary regime such as that prevailed in the constitution of the Canadian Federation, that is, to a more unitary regime in substance than federal, due to the need to make the government accountable before a single legislative chamber. In fact, it would have been impossible to make him responsible at the same time in front of two chambers endowed with the same powers but arising from two different electoral sources and representing two different things, the Federation as a whole and the individual states. The Australian federal constitution sought, albeit through compromise measures, the conciliation or at least the coexistence between the two principles considered antithetical until then, the parliamentary and the federal; whence the new type of state, as well as colonial federation, created by it in the contemporary world: the federal state with parliamentary government. Of course, the Commonwealth was only a minimum of federation. This, like the United States and unlike Canada, should have had no other powers than those expressly attributed to it by the constitution, having the pre-existing colonies, raised to “original states”, preserved in all respects their autonomy, except for the matters entrusted to the federal government: essentially, the community of defense, the economic union, the unity of private law. Thus, while in the Dominion of Canada the powers of the principal governments derived by delegation from the Dominion, which alone in fact enjoyed full colonial autonomy vis-à-vis the metropolis and alone represented the various federated provinces vis-à-vis it; in the Commonwealth, on the other hand, the powers of the federation derived from a delegation of the contracting states, who remained independent of the federal government to such an extent that they continued to maintain their direct relations with England. The legislative competence of the federation, exclusive for some matters, is in others concurrent with that of individual states, i.e. where the constitution has also granted legislative powers to the federal parliament without taking them away from state parliaments (e.g. immigration, banking, insurance, bankruptcy, etc.). The federal parliament, on the other hand, has the exclusive power to establish or admit new states within the Australian Federation, as well as to regulate the government of the territories in any case reached by the Commonwealth and their eventual representation within the same parliament. From these relations between the Commonwealth and the state, in the legislative field, derived from those between the two bodies in the executive field: the federal executive power, that is, has no other powers than those corresponding to the competence of the federal parliament. The federal political organization, in other words, proceeded essentially by way of division, that is, without any overlapping of the federal political bodies with the local ones in the executive field as well as in the legislative one, but absolute independence of the latter from the former.. With the exception, and minimally, of the judicial field, there are two straight lines, states and federation, converging over the oceans to the imperial government. This constitutional device was not denied even in the financial field. Rather than having its own financial system, the Commonwealth took over the management, on behalf of the states, of some sources of income of a continental rather than local character (customs duties and excise duties in particular), having to remit three quarters of these revenues to the state governments, rather than paying fixed sums. Thus, as far as public debt was concerned, each Australian state remained responsible for its commitments; except for debts incurred before the establishment of the Commonwealth, which by the constitution were declared redeemable by it.

The constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia marked, as can be understood from these simple hints, the highest degree of autonomy that a colonial possession could, as well as achieve, conceive. If in fact the transformation into federally united states did not change the juridical position of the six Australian colonies vis-à-vis England at all, since they continued to remain autonomous colonies in direct relationship with the metropolis; their political position was however profoundly modified by the federative union, which further increased the autonomy they enjoyed, not only indirectly, due to the greater prestige and strength that came from it, but also directly, for L’ further attenuation of imperial control over matters passed from the competence of the individual colonies to that of the Federation. The appointment by the British Government of the Governor General and the appeal from the decisions of the Federal High Court to His Majesty in the Council (but also this, as we have seen, with such limitations and reservations as to render it practically nil) were the last links, more formal and substantive, which still attached the Australian states to the metropolis, federated together in a real democratic republic, presided over by a president appointed by the imperial government, representative in it of the sovereign of the United Kingdom. Even in the field of international relations, the Commonwealth of Australia, although a colonial dependency rather than a sovereign state, created the possibility of a foreign policy of its own, with the power granted by the constitution to the federal parliament to legislate on foreign affairs as regards Australia’s relations with the islands of the Pacific Ocean. The Australian Federation (Commonwealth of Australia) at its birth (1 January 1901) embraced the six “original states” of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania), extending over a of almost 8 million sq. km. (7,933,400), with a total population of about 3 million and three quarters of residents (3,771,715) excluding indigenous people.

Under the control of the federal government was also placed, in the same 1901, the Territory of Papua (the ancient English New Guinea), that is the south-eastern part of New Guinea and adjacent islands (234,498 sq. Km. Of area and, in 1926, about 275,000 indigenous Papuans in addition to 1452 Europeans), which however only a few years later (1906) was formally transferred to the Commonwealth and, the first colony of a colonial nation itself, organized under the Papua Act, approved by the Australian Federal Parliament in 1905. Six years later, in 1911, it also passed under the direct dependence of the Commonvealth, the Northern Territory, an immense Australian area of ​​about 1 million and 356 thousand square kilometers. almost uninhabited (3451 residents of which 670 Europeans in 1881; 3867 of which 2459 Europeans in 1921, over 20,000 indigenous), but with a discreet port (Port Darwin), rich in large tracts of excellent pastures and susceptible in some districts of the richest tropical crops: until 1863 it had been part of New South Wales and, from 1863 to 1910, it had been under the jurisdiction of South Australia. On the same date (January 1, 1911) a portion of New South Wales, covering an area of ​​2362 sq km. later brought to 2434, in the locality of Yass-Canberra, it was transferred to the Commonwealth, with the intention of forming the Federal Territory for the creation of the future federal capital of Canberra, to be joined by rail with Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, where the Federation also bought an area of ​​72 sq km in 1917. for the foundation of a naval college. However, construction work in the new capital was only begun in 1923, while it remained Melbourne as the provisional federal capital.

This first territorial settlement was accompanied (and this was the capital fact of the end of the twentieth century preceding the world war) the political work of settling the Commonwealth: that is, of adapting the new federal constitution to the old colonies under action and play and with the aims of the pre-existing parties, now measuring themselves on a wider platform, the continental one. They were: the conservative party (liberal, to use European terminology, in politics and protectionist in economics); the liberal (radical, to put it in European terms, in politics and liberal in economics); the Labor party (party of labor, rather than socialist). Almost equal in numbers, each of the three Australian pre-war parties necessarily had to have an ally or, at least, an ally in order to stay in power. benevolent one of the other two. Hence, the extreme instability and ephemeral duration of pure party governments, the frequency more often of coalition governments between the Labor Party and the Liberal or the Conservative itself; sometimes, against Labor, between the two bourgeois parties. The customs, financial and military defense issues were, before the World War, the most serious issues facing the new Federation. More bitter than in any other field was the debate in the customs field between the parties and the states themselves, of which those in the process of industrial development, such as Victoria, were predominantly protectionist to the bitter end; those still pastoral liberalists, such as Western Australia, where in 1907 there were public threats of secession, in the face of the protectionist Lyne Tarif, adopted that year. Especially since, on commercial protectionism, worker protectionism was trying to graft, accentuating the virulence of the debate and distorting the ideological tendencies of the parties. According to this type of “new protection”, as it was called, customs protection had to have as a corollary, indeed as a condition, the defense of the workers’ wages, the fixing, in protected industries, of a minimum of this salary proportionate to the protection itself. In the financial field, relations between the Commonwealth and the states were restructured, the federal constitution was amended and the temporary settlement expired in 1911, for which the Federation had to reimburse the states for the surplus of customs levies on federal expenses. The Surplus Revenue Act, of 1910, established that the amount of the part of the surplus of the (customs) revenue on federal expenses, payable by the Commonwealth to the individual states, should be counted up to the competition and in the measure of 25 shillings per head by the relative population., officially calculated on December 31 of each year; as well as additional sums to be paid pro tempore if necessaryto individual states (Western Australia and then Tasmania found themselves in this condition). Finally, the field, where the debate between the Australian parties and states was minimal, was that of military defense. A federal ministry of anti-socialist concentration, the Deakin ministry, passed a Defense bill in 1909, which applied – as far as Australia was concerned – the measures deliberated in the last imperial conference in London for the defense of the Empire. Compulsory military service on land and at sea, albeit temporarily limited to the urban population; creation of an Australian federal fleet for the Pacific Ocean; military education capable of giving 260,000 men already educated at any given moment and of mobilizing, in case of need, another 115,000; ability to exchange Australian naval and land military forces with those of the rest of the British Empire; annual expenditure of 2 and a half million pounds: these are the cornerstones of the new federal military organization. A pure Labor ministry, the Fisher ministry (1910-1913), passed the next year a new, larger Defense bill than inspired by the views and advice of Lord Kitchener, who had come to study the Australian military organization, and essentially landed on the armed nation; while he was preparing to do the same for the navy, following the results of the British Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson’s mission to Australia at the same time, with the construction of a large federal fleet and new naval bases for local defense, to rely now on the Australian federal government rather than the British imperial one.

State interventionism in the economic field, up to a kind of state socialism, or individualism as an end; centralism or federalism as a constitutional means, were (to conclude) the cornerstones of Australian political and social life before the world war, in harmony with the evolution of the country as a whole, and the battlefield of the two balancing parties, namely Labor and liberal-conservative. The two sides, on the other hand, were getting closer every day in the field of customs policy; and then, in substance, they were perfectly in agreement on the need for national defense and for its claim to be controlled by the Federation rather than by the Empire. The external and internal adjustment work, political and territorial of the young Australian nation had only just begun for some five years, when it presented itself to the Commonwealth of Australia, as to the other autonomous race colonies of the British Empire, the most superb opportunity to fully affirm, as well as its strength as a young Anglo-Saxon nation of the antipodes, its substantial sovereignty, if not always also formal, in relations not only with the metropolis and with the other constituent parts of the British Empire but even with foreign powers. It was the world war of 1914-1918. Australia entered it with a vibrant spirit of national patriotism, before and even more than imperial loyalty; although about a third of its population was of Irish origin, and therefore certainly not animated by the best feelings towards England. referendum concerning the compulsory conscription also for the overseas military service, as well as for the territorial defense, gave the first time in 1916, and a second time in 1917, a negative response, both for the opposition of the Irish element, which was affected by the backlash of the infighting between the Irish and the English in the metropolis, both for internal political reasons of hostility against the Australian Prime Minister Hughes, and finally and above all for the Australian reluctance to military conscription for imperial rather than exclusively Australian purposes. But the voluntary recruitment for overseas services more than made up for the need. The 750,000 Australians spontaneously enlisted during the war, the 329,682 sent overseas in those years, the 58,961 dead and the 258,992 wounded, sick, prisoners and missing persons, the approximately £ 600 million total war expenditure (including, of course, pensions and war allowances) had reached by 1926 proved to the world Australia’s warm participation in the Empire-backed war. British. Heroic behavior of the Australian troops, of the Anzac (ANZAC, Australia New Zealand Army Corps), who fought in the Gallipoli Peninsula during the disastrous 1915 Campaign. In the following years, the part taken in the military operations of Flanders (famous for the Bullecourt advance) by the Australian corps was very honored, commanded by an improvised but no less valiant and competent Australian general, the engineer Sir John Monash who was to make history of that campaign (The Australian victories in France in 1918); not to mention military operations of lesser if not lesser importance (eg, the sedentary defense of Egypt). Even the recently formed Australian federal fleet, used by the British Admiralty in the Pacific and in European waters itself, against naval bases and against German privateers (the Emden, among others, was sunk by an Australian cruiser), received his not inglorious baptism in that war. There were also territorial conquests. And until September 1914, Emperor William’s Land (German New Guinea) and other German possessions in the western Pacific were attacked and occupied by Australian military forces.

Of course, the Australian Federation, like the other fighting states, was not lacking internal political crises during the great, more than four-year trial. Just on the eve of this, when parliament was dissolved, while the Cook ministry (1913-1914) had the majority in the lower house only, the general elections of July 1914 had restored the majority in both federal chambers to the Labor Party which, with Fisher, had already governed the country from 1910 to 1913. The attempt to form, in view of the new war requirements, a “national” government made up of all parties had failed, Labor summed up power by itself, first with Fisher and then, past Fisher in London as High Commissioner, with Hughes, an ancient miner native of Wales and politically raised by the most heated Labor, but soon revealed himself to have a ruthlessness and political sagacity equal to the ardent combativeness. This attitude, however warmly approved and appreciated in the mother country, created difficulties and hostility for Hughes among large strata of the Australian nation, fervent of imperial loyalty but equally jealous of Downing Street interference is therefore suspicious of the London popularity of its rulers. In 1917, after a previous ministerial reshuffle, Hughes definitively broke it with the Labor Party and, having successfully made an electoral appeal to the country, formed a new “nationalist” ministry, chosen for the most part from the ranks of the old opposition. But not even this exempted Hughes, during and after the war, from the need to maneuver skillfully in the absence of a stable parliamentary base. All the more so since the elections of 1919 gave a proud blow in both federal chambers to the Labor Party, albeit validly supported by the Irish party, setting up a new political group, the Country party., mainly representing the agricultural interests of the country. The very part represented by Hughes at the Peace Conference, in which the Australian Prime Minister found himself in permanent conflict with Wilson and not infrequently with Lloyd George himself for the rigidity of his exclusive imperial and Australian point of view, alienated him at home. further spirits: therefore his government continued in a state of permanent crisis until the Imperial Conference held in London for the first time, after the war, in 1921, in which Hughes participated, as usual, happily. By now, however, the political days of the Hughes ministry were numbered, despite the new victories in the December 1922 elections, at the expense of the Labor Party, by the two parties (Nationalist and Country Party) of the coalition he had headed up to then. At the head of this, he was succeeded by Bruce, who set up a Bruce-Page coalition ministry (1923-1925) which participated in London, with his boss Mr. Bruce, in the new British Imperial Conference of 1923 (which mainly dealt with the question of the interimperial customs preference), and had to face a whole series of strikes at home, hiring in 1925 an even revolutionary aspect. Supported by the Labor Party, still master of local government in most Australian states, they were however condemned by the Australian electoral body, which Bruce called precisely to draw the necessary authority in the face of the vast economic-political turmoil. The elections of November 1925, in fact, marked a new and more sensational defeat of the Labor Party. For Australia government and politics, please check

From the war, the Commonwealth of Australia thus emerged more politically cemented, but no less socially agitated internally than before; while in foreign relations, in the imperial and world orbit, it came out enlarged in territory and population and, even more, in prestige and autonomy. At the Peace Conference, indeed, the Australian Federation obtained on its own, as a colonial “mandate”, ancient German New Guinea, the archipelago of Bismarck and the ancient German islands of the Solomon group; while the former German Samoa were assigned, also as a mandate, to New Zealand, the islet of Nauru to the British Empire, the islands north of the Equator (i.e. Marshall, Caroline, Palau, Marianne or the Thieves) to Japan. The colonial mandate, entrusted on 17 December 1920 by the League of Nations to the Commonwealth of Australia and inaugurated by this on 9 May 1921, it extended, between north-eastern New Guinea and island groups, over an area of ​​approximately 223,905 sq km. (of which 177,415 from north-eastern New Guinea), with a total population counted at the time as 418,000 indigenous residents (of which 228,200 in New Guinea), in addition to about 3000 Chinese, English, German, Dutch, Japanese, etc. Given the nature of the mandate (type in addition to about 3000 Chinese, English, German, Dutch, Japanese, etc. Given the nature of the mandate (type in addition to about 3000 Chinese, English, German, Dutch, Japanese, etc. Given the nature of the mandate (type C.) Australian laws could be applied to these territories, subject, if necessary, to local modifications. But neither could the indigenous people impose military service, except for local police purposes, nor was it lawful to establish naval or military bases or permanent fortifications in the country. Even more important than the military and territorial results were the political ones: that is the new juridical position in which after the war the Commonwealth of Australia found itself from an imperial and international point of view. Already during the war his government, like that of the other British Dominions, on an equal footing with the metropolitan government, by virtue of the constitution of the Imperial War Cabinet, in which they participated, with some ministers English, the prime ministers of the colonies with responsible government; admitted, like other states, to the League of Nations as an original member of it, after having directly participated in the stipulation and signature of peace treaties; invested with colonial mandates; equipped with a diplomatic corps, albeit rudimentary, for relations with some foreign countries and with the homeland itself (a High Commissioner and an Official Secretary in London; a Commercial Representative in France; a Commissioner and an Official Secretary to the United States); the Commonwealth of Australia, like the other British Dominions, obtained even in the field of foreign policy, with the formal recognition of an international personality of its own, the consecration of its full national independence.

Between national territory (ie Australia and Tasmania) and colonial territory, the surface of the Australian Federation after the war was over 8 million square kilometers. (8,178,378), and the population of almost 5 and a half million residents (5,435,730 at the 1921 census) as well as the indigenous people (now estimated at only 60,000). The average annual value of Australian production from the last years of the pre-war to the early post-war years had nearly doubled. Foreign trade grew, in comparison with the pre-war period. Notable progress had been made in the economic equipment of the country in the interior, and in its navigation. On October 22, 1917, the first Australian transcontinental from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Port Augusta in South Australia opened for traffic. However, the financial burden of the Federation had increased more than in proportion to the progress of agriculture, pastoralism, industry, trade, navigation, and the population. In the fiscal year 1902-1903 there had been Lst. 12,105,878 of federal revenue and Lst. 12.102.216 of expenses, of which last however Lst. 3,901,759 only of properly federal expenses, the remainder (8,200,457) of payments to individual states. Twenty years later (fiscal year 1922-23), federal revenue was £ Lst. 64,720,635, the expenses of £ Lst. 70,847,128, of which 7,185,551 only of payments to individual states, the rest of federal expenses (among these, over 30 million pounds of military expenses, from 1 million as they were already in 1905). In the fiscal year 1925-1926, federal revenue rose to Lst. 72,285,363, but the expenses to 82. 212,518, although payments to individual states still remained below 8 million pounds sterling: military expenses, invalidity and old-age pensions, maternity benefits, postal and telegraphic expenses were the major branches of the federal budget for expenditure; customs and excise duties, income tax, proceeds from the state property, postal and telegraphic ones, inheritance taxes, were his main sources of income; the lending policy, Australia’s typically national institution, was the normal means of balancing the Federation budget, as it had been before for the individual Australian colonies. The consolidated net debt of the Commonwealth alone of 203 million and 700 thousand pounds, as it was in 1901, for the inheritance of the public debts of the ancient colonies passed to 458,443,351 pounds as of June 30, 1926; not to mention that of the individual states which from about 257 million pounds in total, still as of 1910, had risen on 30 June 1926 to 606,058,254 pounds. Regardless, however, of the financial problem, that is, excessive budgets for a new country and such a small population, and the growing public debt; regardless of the internal political problem of relations between states and the Federation and the imperial problem of relations with the mother country (a problem common to the other large British colonial federations, but much more serious for the Australian federation, given the antithesis between the it needs the British imperial aegis and less political suffering than this); L’ Australia is faced with two immanent problems that affect its very life and on whose solution its future history depends: the socio-economic problem and the ethnic-demographic problem, joined together more than they appear outside. The principle of state interventionism, more widely applied every day in the Australian economy, if it undoubtedly manages to preserve the high standard of living to which the particular events of the country’s historical evolution have led them (according to a survey official made on the data of 1910-11, Australia was the country where the highest rate of wages was accompanied by the lowest cost of living), on the other hand constitutes a sensitive hesitation for rapid economic progress, and even more demographic of the very new world. While indeed the excessive regulation of labor irritates or mortifies capital, distancing it from industries and depressing the very spirit of initiative of the industrial classes; while the high rate of wages, reverberating on the very high cost of manufactured products, hinders their export and even expansion on the domestic market; while finally the policy of large public works, often inspired by the needs of the urban electoral masses rather than the general economy of the country, keeps the arms away from the earth or from the preparatory work for agricultural colonization; the nationalist tendency to reserve, for pride of lineage and even more for economic selfishness, an entire continent, as well as for the white race, for that handful of Anglo-Saxons who still live there, it delays the general economic development of the country or even prevents the exploitation of some areas, such as the tropical ones, susceptible only with a colored workforce of the richest food or industrial crops. Not only that: but that trend stops the same white population, which is the indispensable spring of any lasting progress in a new country, and the greatest guarantee of security in the face of the yellow danger impending on depopulated Australia by a Japan. every day more congested with the population and humiliated by the anti-yellow politics of the new and very new world. The demographic stagnation, determined by the very low birth rate, an exceptional phenomenon in the new countries, by the still anti-democratic structure of land ownership, by the vicious distribution of the population between cities and countryside, it is further aggravated by a restrictive immigration policy, which does not stop in front of the colored races of Asian or Polynesian origin, socially unassimilable and more economically dangerous in the field of wages, but it pushes, under the most varied pretexts, against the same white nationalities of the Western world. In fact, the excess of immigrants over emigrants, of about 50 thousand individuals per year alone in the last decade of the century. XIX, was reduced even more in the third decade of this century, in which the first years of immigration remained below 100 thousand individuals.

The insane and inequitable program of an Australia to Australians thus backfires against the more equitable and achievable one of a white Australia; and the Commonwealth of Australia, in its instinct of conservation and defense against the yellow race, thus seeks, in an imperialist policy that does not shy away, if necessary, from aggression and conquests to surround itself all around with lands and islands dominated by it. made, albeit from England in name, the solution to that fundamental problem of its becoming, which economic and lineage selfishness prevent it from finding in the free play of the great demographic currents of the world.

The Commonwealth of Australia