Was Australia A Working Man's Paradise

671 words - 3 pages

Was Australia an 'egalitarian' (equal) society at this time?
Were we a country where people were more or less equal, no matter what differences there might be in their education, occupation or family background?
Were we a young country that was different to anywhere else in the world?
It is widely believed that it was but there is much evidence that suggests that this was a myth.
Australian economic prosperity was based on our exports of wool and wheat. Wool prices rose 30% between 1902 and 1914. The mining industry also provided exports.
Manufacturing was limited though the number employed rose from 132,000 to 239,000 between 1901 and 1913. Australian manufacturing relied on tariff (import taxes) protection to compete against cheaper foreign goods.



Pay and Working Conditions
Skilled workers were well paid and had good conditions compared to workers in Britain or America.
Australia led the way in industrial relations and social welfare during this period.
Workers formed trade unions to campaign for better wages and conditions. They formed the Australian Labor Party to have a strong influence in state and federal parliaments to gain workers' rights and social reforms.
1904 Federal Parliament established the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to solve disputes between workers and their employers.
1907 Justice Higgins established the principle of a 'fair and reasonable wage', the minimum wage to which a worker was entitled. This lasted for 60 years.
1908 the Federal Government introduced the old age and invalid pensions and in 1912 the payment of compensation for federal government employees who were injured at work.

Pay and Working Conditions
Between 1901 and 1914, workers and bosses often disagreed over pay and working conditions in many industries.
In Victoria, the government introduced a Coercion Act where strikers could be sacked and they would also lose all their pension rights
In the coal strikes in NSW workers were put in...

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