Australia's Democracy: A Short History

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9781865088457: Australia's Democracy: A Short History
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The full story of Australia's democracy from one of our leading historians.

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Synopsis:

This work explores what sort of democracy Australians have made. It traces the establishing of democratic rights and freedoms from convict times until the present; from the era when racism limited political rights to today's concern that everyone's human rights be respected; from the demand that governments be free to carry out the people's wishes to the current desire to see all government power checked and controlled. It also examines notable Australian innovations like the secret ballot and the basic wage. The book goes on to examine the oddities of Australia's democratic society - where there has been strong opposition to military conscription, but not to compulsory voting; where egalitarianism has not led to a universal welfare system nor prohibited the growth of private schools; where politicians have been held in contempt but governments have been omni-competent and efficient; where the people have been scornful of British snobbishness, but loyal to a British monarch; where men have been keen about mateship, leaving women to take citizenship seriously.

Written by one of Australia's most noted historians, with a compelling eye for the human story in history, the book is intended to bring the history of Australia's democracy to life in a lucid, entertaining and vivid way for students of history and for general readers.

About the Author:

John Hirst is one of Australia's leading historians. He is Reader in History at La Trobe University and a frequent commentator in national newspapers and magazines. Among his previous books was The Strange Birth of Colonial Democracy (1988). His most recent book was The Sentimental Nation: the making of the Australian Commonwealth. Since 1996 he has chaired the Commonwealth Government's Civics Education Group.

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