Should Australia have federated in 1901? It is one question that has been asked for many years after it happened. Australian Federation was a significant historical event in Australia’s history, but was it really that beneficial Before federation, Australia was divided into six separate colonies, each having their own parliament and their own ways and traditions, but on the 1st of January 1901, Australia federated to become one nation. There are many perspectives on for and against federation.
Here are some arguments against Australian federation:
It is imperative for Australia to have not federated because all the Australian colonies already had their own efficient parliaments. Establishing a new parliament, were all colonies would be united would be far too costly to create and continue to run in future, and therefore more expensive taxes would be introduced. Furthermore, on this, the Australian colonies were already facing economic depression. This would deeply affect the Australian citizens and may result in people not being able to afford basic goods, such as food, water and shelter. This may also drive people into thievery, which will corrupt the Australian colonies. Instead of creating a new parliament, colonies should without a doubt be more focused on overcoming this depression.
Another reason why it would have been far more beneficial for Australia to have not federated in 1901 is that Australia would be then cutting ties with their ‘mother country’ Britain. The country would no longer be able to rely on Britain for advice or help. Although Australia will still be an ally or friend with Britain, they will never have the same relationship as they did before Australia federated. Some people were patriotic toward their colony and had negative feelings toward the other colonies. This made them not want to federate and become one with the colonies in which they didn’t like. At the time, Australia was made up of other 90 per cent of people having British heritage and many felt as if there were no need to move away or lose this dependence with Britain. They also believed that each colony had its own characteristics that had a high risk of being lost after federation. In addition to this, more wealthy colonies such as New South Wales and Victoria would lose some of their wealth as they would have to share with the less powerful, poorer colonies such as Western Australia. The poorer colonies would then gain unearned wealth and more well-off colonies that have worked hard to establish strong, rich colonies would disadvantage from federation.
Here are some reasons for federation.
It was significantly important for Australia to federate because each Australian colony alone only had very small defence force that were not equipped to protect a colony. These forces were made primarily of volunteers and only a small permanent force. Each colony also were very poorly trained. Although all the colonies had their own defence force, they all relied on the British navy to occasionally patrol the vast Australian coastline. At the time, people feared that the Australian colonies would be vulnerable to attack from nations with strong military forces such as Germany, France and Russia who had already colonised regions and islands of the Pacific and could fight each colonies defence force easily and take over the Australian colonies. The colonies of Australia all needed a single nation defence force, so they could protect their colonisations and so after federation, the federal government was able to establish much stronger defence forces.
Another reason why Australian federation was vital for the development of Australia is because it would be more convenient for


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