‘The Common Bond? Australian Citizenship
Alison Holland. ‘The Common Bond?, Australian Citizenship’ in Australia's History, Themes and Debates, UNSW Press, 2005
The key issues that are raised in this chapter are all based on how Australian citizenship was established and how Australia evolved from the term ‘citizenship’. Citizenship was put in place to construct cohesion between the diverse society’s that were populating Australia and that Australian ‘citizenship’ was what unified us as Australians.
The reading explains that for most of the twentieth century, Australia was part of the British Empire and what was important at that time was only Anglo-Saxonness. All people born in Australia including aborigines became British Subjects. Australia’s self indication as British had substantial complexities for citizenship, British subject hood was to provide loyal citizenry and would help Australia against its enemies in and out of Australia.
The topic also includes the migration of Eastern Europeans and the need to assimilate into the ‘white’ Australian way of life. These migrants were known as aliens inside and out, the Anglos were very worried what the Europeans were here to do in Australia.
From the Late nineteenth century white feminists wanted equal citizenship, they wanted to be politically and economically equal, equality in moral standards. Finally at the turn of the century women received their rights to citizenship and in 1902 under the Commonwealth Franchise act the federal vote.
The reading also raises the issues of Aboriginal exclusion from citizenship. At federation Aborigines were written out of the nation altogether, while woman received their voting rights aborigines were at the same time denied it, the constitution noted that Aborigines were not to be counted in the national census. Although classified as British subjects and after 1948 Australian citizens, Aborigines were literally citizens with no rights. It was not until the late...