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Yes: Federation of the states in Australia was a good idea for several reasons.

  • Trade: There were steep tariffs imposed on the transport of goods across the borders of the states. Federation removed these tariffs and allowed for free trade between the states.

  • Unions and labour laws: It was hoped that labour laws would be standardised across the states with Federation. The great Shearers' Strike of the 1890s had resulted in the formation of workers' unions, and the newly-formed Australian Labor Party saw that unification would allow this standardisation.
  • Some Australians wanted a "White Australia" policy. They believed Federation would enable the development and maintenance of a "White Australia", by toughening Immigration laws. There was lingering resentment over the Chinese who had come during the gold rush, made their fortune (as they were far more industrious than Australians) and then returned to their own country, taking their fortune with them. Some stayed and set up businesses in towns, but they were always looked down upon. It was hoped by some (not all) that a White Australia policy would ensure employment for Australians. Some colonies were opposed to this policy as they used foreign labour, which was often much cheaper than local labour. An example of this is Queensland, which employed Kanakas (people from the Cook Islands). Under the new constitution, not only the Kanakas, but also the much-feared Chinese, who came to Australia during the gold rush, would not be allowed into Australia. Thus Federation would eliminate unwanted foreigners, providing more employment for Australians.
  • Independence from England: Federation was but a small step in the overall independence of Australia, allowing it to move away from the influence of Mother England and become a self-governing nation in its own right. Again, this was a process which took many decades, but Federation certainly enabled that first step.
  • Other important laws were expected to be made uniform, such as taxes and banking. This was particularly important in the light of the recent (1892) depression, which was a time of economic instability. Many saw that Federation, in bringing unity, could only bring more stability to the country.
  • Defence: Each of the states had its own defence force. Each individual state's defence force was not strong enough to protect Australia's vast coastline from attack. There were distinct advantages in uniting the defence under one command, an important consideration as the German and French presence in the Pacific increased.
  • Laws: Laws could be enforced better if accused people could not escape to a neighbouring colony.
  • As a result of the goldrushes, Australia was wealthy enough to govern independently of England.
  • Patriotism was becoming stronger, with the rise of Australian talents like 'Banjo' Paterson advocating the idea of freedom, the bush life and tossing off authority.
  • Sporting teams were representing "Australia", not individual states.
  • Under a federated Australia, the country had a single economy big enough and robust enough to give confidence to those who want to trade in it.
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11y ago

There were many reasons why Federation was good for Australia:

  • Trade: There were steep tariffs imposed on the transport of goods across the borders of the states. Federation would remove these tariffs and allow for free trade between the states.
  • Unions and labour laws: It was hoped that labour laws would be standardised across the states with Federation. The great Shearers' Strike of the 1890s had resulted in the formation of workers' unions, and the newly-formed Australian Labor Party saw that unification would allow this standardisation.
  • Transport: There was no standard railway gauge across the country and railway lines changed at the colonial borders. It was believed Federation would see the introduction of uniform railway gauges across the states, but in reality this did not occur for another eighty years or so.
  • Some Australians wanted a "White Australia" policy. They believed Federation would enable the development and maintenance of a "White Australia", by toughening immigration laws. There was lingering resentment over the Chinese who had come during the gold rush, made their fortune (as they were far more industrious than Australians) and then returned to their own country, taking their fortune with them. Some stayed and set up businesses in towns, but they were always looked down upon. It was hoped by some (not all) that a White Australia policy would ensure employment for Australians. Some colonies were opposed to this policy as they used foreign labour, which was often much cheaper than local labour. An example of this is Queensland, which employed Kanakas (people from the Cook Islands). Under the new constitution, not only the Kanakas, but also the much-feared Chinese, who came to Australia during the gold rush, would not be allowed into Australia. Thus Federation would eliminate unwanted foreigners, providing more employment for Australians.
  • Independence from England: Federation was but a small step in the overall independence of Australia, allowing it to move away from the influence of Mother England and become a self-governing nation in its own right. Again, this was a process which took many decades, but Federation certainly enabled that first step.
  • Other important laws were to be made uniform, such as taxes and banking. This was particularly important in the light of the recent (1892) depression, which was a time of economic instability. Many saw that Federation, in bringing unity, could only bring more stability to the country.
  • Defence: Each of the states had its own defence force. Each individual state's defence force was not strong enough to protect Australia's vast coastline from attack. There were distinct advantages in uniting the defence under one command, an important consideration as the German and French presence in the Pacific increased.
  • Laws: Laws could be enforced better if accused people could not escape to a neighbouring colony.
  • Sporting teams were representing "Australia", not individual states.
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Continue Learning about World History

What part did Sir Henry Parkes play in the call for federation?

Sir Henry Parkes is considered to be the Father of Australian Federation.Parkes was first elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 1854, and was Premier of New South Wales several times between 1872 and 1891.Parkes is perhaps best remembered for his famous Tenterfield Oration, delivered on 24 October 1889, at the Tenterfield School of Arts. In this speech, he advocated the Federation of the six Australian colonies, based mainly on the advantages this would offer for trade - specifically, free trade across the borders.


What does American history have to do with Australian history?

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What does father of federation mean?

The term "Father of Federation" refers to Sir Henry Parkes, an influential politician who pushed for Federation of Australia's states. To be the "father of federation" means he was the one who really pushed for the federation of Australia's colonies. Parkes is particularly remembered for his famous Tenterfield Oration, delivered at the small rural town of Tenterfield in October 1889. In this speech, he campaigned heavily for Federation of the six Australian colonies. Tenterfield was selected as the place to make his stand as it was part of New South Wales but a long distance away from Sydney. This meant that the town was disadvantaged by the steep tariffs imposed on the transportation of goods across the border to Queensland, where the closer trade centre of Brisbane was located. His promotion of Federation was based on the fact that it would enable free trade across the borders.


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