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or a demand for independent action for its own sake, but a determination to be free from purely British control, because of a feeling that Britain did not fully comprehend Australia's problems. The Tariff Laws, the Navigation Acts, the compulsory military training scheme, the White Australia Policy, and many other characteristic features of Commonwealth legislation have also been frequently contrary to British Imperial policy. Many people in Britain continue to regard these things as examples of Australian selfishness." They do not understand the strength of Australia's determination to pursue her
own lines of national development, whatever others may think of them. The same spirit of independence and the same distrust underlie Australian opposition to Imperial Federation. It is feared that it would mean a dangerous reduction of the powers of self-government, and involve Australia in European quarrels and capitalist exploitations to which she is, in spirit and outlook, entirely opposed. Again, the Australian feeling that British statesmen either do not understand or fail to sympathise with the fundamentals of Australian policy is quite justified. For example, few outside the Commonwealth really understand the White Australia policy,* or the difference between Australian nationalism and “cutting the painter," or the sentiment behind Australian protectionism. The realisation of this want of touch and compre
* Mr. W. M. Hughes, Prime Minister, expressed this well in his speech in the Federal Parliament, 10th September, 1919, on the Peace Treaty:-“ Members who have travelled in the East and in Europe will be able to understand with what difficulty this world-gathering of men, representing both coloured and partly-coloured peoples, was able to appreciate this idea of 5,000,000 people who had dared to say over a great continent that this was not only theirs, but none should enter in except such as they chose. Therefore, perhaps, the greatest thing we have achieved in such circumstances, in such an assembly, was the principle of a • White Australia.' There are some at the two extremes of the poles of political opinion who do not hold these views, but, thank God, they are few in numbers, hension tends to make Australians still more determined to pursue an independent policy. There can be little doubt that this instinct is a true one. Free co-operation with Britain, not subordination, is Australia's line of safety, both in facing a world full of dangers and in avoiding the entanglements of an Imperial policy alien to its own spirit.
It must be confessed, however, that this independence of outlook has the defect of its quality. Australians are apt to think politically in large slabs, avoiding all refinements of thought, and the implications of their policies in the larger world of states. They are satisfied to cry, “No Imperial Federation," and to think no more about it. And yet “the problem is actual, concrete; it has to be faced now, whether we like it or not. The principle of self-government for the Dominions, willingly conceded and firmly established by the people of the United Kingdom, can never be questioned. But the growth of the Empire has made necessary a re-examination of the relations between the United Kingdom and other self-governing nations of the British Commonwealth. The war has had the effect of sharpening intensely the anomalies of the political relationship between Great Britain and the Dominions.”* To the average Australian, Imperial Federation savours too much of the keen desire of British capital to take advantage of the economic development of a more closely unified Empire. That fear, coupled with the intense concern of the Aus
and, I hope, of limited infiuence. This is the foundation of all that Australia has fought for. This is the only part of the Empire or of the world in which there is so little admixture of races. In England and France you may hear men in adjoining counties or provinces speak different dialects, and, in the case of France, unable to understand each other; but in no part of Australia can you distinguish one Australian from another by his speech. We are more British than Britain, and we hold firmly to this great principle of a White Australia' because we know what we know, and because we have liberty and we believe in our race and in ourselves, and in our capacity to achiere our great destiny."
tralians for the maintenance of their- autonomy, places Imperial Federation definitely beyond the sphere of practical politics. But it is an unfortunate result of this strong national sentiment that Australians fail to realise the wider aspects of their responsibilities as citizens of the British Commonwealth and vf the League of Nations. While the Covenant of the League was being formulated in Paris, and the status of the Dominions within it had been defined in a way that made the occasion of the highest historical importance in the annals of the Dominions, the Australian people and their press exhibited the most remarkable apathy towards all these developments. Again, while expressly opposed to secret diplomacy, they had allowed their Ministers, in consultation with the British War Cabinet, to come to certain agreements regarding foreign countries, vitally affecting Australia's interests, without appearing to perceive the drift of such a policy. Unfortunately, the ignorance of our own citizens concerning foreign affairs is one of our worst dangers. The Australian is too selfcomplacent in his view of the safety guaranteed by his own institutions. In his characteristic opposition to being drawn against his will beyond the pale of his immediate interests, he forgets that the world is rapidly becoming a unity, whose welfare depends upon the close co-operation of its parts, and that largely depends upon the knowledge possessed by each part of the conditions of everŷ other. One significant example of this determination not to look outwards from the Commonwealth is the fact that before the war the Australian Labour movement had no international sentiment, though as a movement it was among the strongest in the world."* If self-government is to
merely selfish government, instead of the
of the development of a
* “ New Social Order," M. Atkinson, p. 279. * See article in “Stead's Review," Melbourne, June, 1919: The Goyernment of the Empire,' by M, Atkinson,
democracy which would associate itself with all other democracies for the common good
of humanity, Australian nationalism may prove no better builder of the new world-order than the autocracies of Europe.
Standards of Australian Civilisation. In any attempt to estimate the standards of culture and civilisation in a country, nothing is more difficult than to find a common ground from which to measure. American and British visitors to the Commonwealth are often extremely critical of the want of business smartness and power of organisation which they notice in the economic life of the country. In many respects Australians must plead guilty to charges of casualness and backwardness in official and commercial activities. But before we can settle the relative values of any two civilisations, we must ask what are their express aims, and by what means they are seeking to attain them. It may be granted at once that the United States, for example, is far ahead of Australia in the variety of its products, the efficiency of its industries, the skill and smartness of its people, the amount of its wealth and the scope of its commerce. But how
do the two countries compare in the proportions of their citizens who are intelligent and well-instructed, possessed of a broad social outlook, determined upon the square deal” for everybody, with a fair sufficiency of the good things of life, working under good conditions, living an existence which enhances their self-respect and provides them and their children with a high standard of comfort? There can be no room for doubt that Australia emerges from such a test with flying colours.
Granted that she has not the same social problem as that of the United States—a huge and mixed population, crowded cities and a vast industrial system--Australia should receive due credit for aiming first and foremost at a high average welfare
for her citizens, for putting the distribution of 1 wealth before the question of its production. This attitude has, of course, serious defects. Much of the casualness and devil-may-care-ness characteristic of the Anzacs is the result of their being satisfied with a moderate national . dividend evenly distributed, in preference to a larger dividend unequally shared. Another factor is the immenso power wielded in Australia by organised Labour, which, as is well known, is frequently in possession of the reins of government. Their policy has always tended to favour “the bottom dog." Unfortunately accompanying effect has been the discouragement of highly skilled labour and of the introduction of new industrial methods. The differences between skilled and unskilled rates are often small or non-existent. The resistance to
efficiency methods is bitter in the extreme. . This attitude has strong justification, but it will have serious results in the sphere of national production. The Australian worker, however, has culled from industrial history the bitter lessons of the evils of class privilege and capitalistic oppression. Come what may, he is determined that he will raise himself and his class above the sordid level of modern industrialism.
The problem for Australia is thus to promote a rising standard of life and yet apply the new industrial methods of more advanced nations. At present she is a nation of high social averages. To her, totals matter far less than averages. Though there is but a small highly-cultured class in tine Commonwealth, general knowledge is widespread, and the average Australian is a highly intelligent, well-instructed citizen. In technical and scientific knowledge he cannot rival American British standards, but his adaptability, initiative and resourcefulness, whether in meeting a dangerous situation repairing his own agricultural machinery, are renowned. Though the Australian is impressed by the figures of production in the