Australian Identity Research Paper

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THE CHANGING NATIONAL IDENTITY OF AUSTRALIA: Australia’s national identity has greatly changed over the past 100 years since federation and will continue to change and evolve into the future. The national identity of Australia is composed of many different elements, however, the fundamental and core principles of Australia’s national identity rest on the political and recreational attitudes and values of her citizens and their rights and freedoms as individuals, the growing diversity in the racial and religious make up of Australia, as well as, Australia’s relationships with world powers such as America and Britain. From federation and discriminatory politics, through war and hard work, into technology, developing diversity and reconciliation,…show more content…
When Australia was colonised, most states enacted full male suffrage and women were seen as only good for running the domestic side of life. But just prior to federation, South Australia became the first state in Australia, and the world, to give women the vote, and by 1909 all Australian states had amended the law and allowed women to vote. This occurred nineteen years before Britain’s women were given the same right and as a result Australia was known as a laboratory for democracy. The next step towards gender equality occurred in 1921, when Edith Cowan became the first female member of parliament when she was elected into the Western Australian State Parliament, just one year after Western Australia had made this legal for women. However, Australia did not see its first female Prime Minister until 2010, when Julia Gillard became leader of the Australian Labor Party, and today there is still much inequality in the parliament, with women only making up 30.3% of all parliamentarians. Over the last century in Australia there has been was much discrepancy between male and female wages and this was not addressed until 1972 when equal pay for equal work was enforced, increasing gender equality and allowing women to earn the same amount as men. This does not mean, however, that there is no gender pay gap, because whilst women are able to…show more content…
Australia was said to be ‘More British that Britain itself’ (Wikipedia Article: Australians). At federation, 98% of Australians had British ancestry and in the 1911 census, 96% of all Australians identified themselves as being Christian. Over half of Australia’s population went to church every Sunday and their religion was a way of life. The local church organised social events and everyone was involved. While the British, European and white Australian population was rising, the Aboriginal population was decreasing. Aboriginal population in Australia is estimated to have reached it’s lowest in 1933, with only 78 828 Australian Aboriginals, this was a 25% decrease in population since the First Fleet in 1788. This figure has greatly increased since then, and in 2006 Australian Aboriginals made up 2.5% of all Australians, with their population having grown to 517 200. In the 2011 census, when asked to identify ancestry, 36.1% of Australians said British, and 35.4% of the population said Australian. This shows a vast decrease in the number of Australians identifying themselves as having British heritage, a fall of 69.9% over the past 100 years. This decrease means Australia’s national identity has become less British and more Australian since federation; a changing culture with a more diverse range of

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