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high model. In their haste to cast off the address of servility, Australians have been reluctant to acquire the address of mutual respect. So intent have they been upon their domestic problems, so insistent upon the repudiation of old-world standards, that they have developed no world-outlook, and are unprepared for the world-responsibilities now suddenly thrust upon them. They do not realise that an empty continent cannot enjoy splendid isolation amid teeming populations, without powerful friends.*

The greater equitability of distribution has not led to any serious consideration of the problems of production. The system of industrial arbitration is no substitute for social re-construction, nor is class-consciousness a legitimate excuse for lack of schemes of co-operation. The practical opportunism of Australia has achieved much success, but the lack of a social logic finds her unready when the old measures will not meet the new situation. Social•legislation without a social philosophy will not satisfy the clamant needs of a war-shaken world. This void is thus the more readily filled with the imported doctrines of Russia and America, the historical and social antipodes of Australia. Not only in their thought, but in their action also, Australians loth to

any personal responsibility. Over-reliance upon Parliament and legislation, the lack of local government, and a constitutional love of leisure, have accustomed them to be satisfied with delegating their responsibilities, reserving to themselves the privilege of condemnation and repudiation of the elect when



* The number of persons per square mile in various countries is as follows:Germany..


Union of South United Kingdom 378.92


12.63 France.


New Zealand 11.08 Japan.


2.17 United States 34.30



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+ They love a sporting gamble, but dislike to shoulder tedious obligations.

things go wrong. Thus the Australian type of selfgovernment is wanting both in local intensity and width of range. The community spirit is growing only slowly within the national spirit. For the same reason the Australian will tolerate inefficiency and neglect in public departments such as would cause a great outcry in other countries.

In the educational sphere the same transition is noticeable. Primary education is widespread and good, but higher education is only slowly receiving fair attention. The absence of any large class of highly-educated people accounts


a certain intolerance to abstract ideas which is apt to show itself at odd times. Literature of the highest kind is read by only a very small section of the community, while books of a moderately good but orthodox kind are probably more widely read than in any other country. This condition gives to thought of a purely academic quality far less influence than in Britain. In agencies for social welfare also—whether it be in health, education or philanthropy-Australia is backward. The lack of serious destitution largely accounts, of course, for the lack of welfare agencies. But this has caused Australia to fall behind in the application of the most scientific methods of the saving of infant life, the stamping out of infectious diseases, and so on.

In the sphere of religion and morals the transition again appears. The Australian has cast off the outworn theologies of last century and the humbug of early Victorian religious cant, but he has only developed in its place a non-rational scepticism which is utterly behind modern thought. The re-valuations of the spiritual elements of human life, which have so fruitfully occupied the last thirty years of religious speculation, have failed to reach him. The Australian, therefore, continues to treat with gentle derision a clerical type almost defunct, and a theology long ago discarded. The same over-eager repudiation of the old, in favour of a not altogether healthy new, is seen in the unfortunate moral laxity that has followed the


rejection of the pruderies and stern restrictions of our puritanical forbears.*

Any attempt to set out the social credit and debit of a nation is apt to draw attention mainly to the debit side. But if the foregoing statements are carefully balanced, it will be seen that the virtues of Australian democracy are far in excess of its defects. If the tasks of democracy were not so difficult, the aspiration to achieve them could not be sublime. If it be possible to sum up the quality of a civilisation in one generalisation, it might be said that Australia has risen to a higher level of social orthodoxy than any other nation, that she has carried to a nearly logical conclusion the implications of nineteenth century reform, and that thereby she has demonstrated the almost infinite possibilities of a changed social environment. But she has offered no new way to the new social order. She has given the world a new hope, but not new gospel. She has provided the Socialists and Eugenists with strong proofs of their contention that we can cultivate the super-race, if we will but furnish the social conditions of its development. When we consider how far below this sociological standard the nations of to-day fall, we can readily forgive the crudities and immaturities of this young nation advancing towards the light. It does not realise the incalculable boon of freedom from warfare on its soil, and the entanglements thereby implied. But these very advantages of history make its contribution to human progress of greater value.

A common standard of civilisation is difficult to attain. But whatever basis of calculation may be adopted, it seems to one who has sympathetically observed the Australian people for many years that they have far surpassed all other nations in their anxiety to utilise the wealth and power of the State

* The freedom with which the Australian slang-word, wowser,” meaning a Puritan or "kill-joy," is applied to all and sundry who condemn moral laxity, is eloquent of the Australian love of “having a good time” at all costs.

for the common good. There is nothing on which men are so intolerant as their judgment of the social habits and outlook of other nations. The judgment of visitors to Australia, based as it is on the outlook they have imported from countries whose standards are repudiated by citizens of the Commonwealth, is necessarily prejudiced and inadequate. It is my considered judgment that Australians are the finest human raw material in the world, and that, if they are blessed with leaders worthy of them, they will achieve the ideal Commonwealth, the New Atlantis of modern civilisation. The crudities and imperfections that have been pointed out in this chapter are to be reckoned with their virtues and achievements. The balanced result surely points to the estimation of Australia

one of the great nations of the world, and potentially the greatest of all.




By Professor W. Harrison Moore.


§ 1. The Federal System of Government.

The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 recites the agreement of the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown” and under the Constitution thereby established, and provides that the Colonies (with Western Australia if she join in the agreement) shall accordingly be united by proclamation of the Crown upon a day appointed. The proclamation was made on 17th September, 1900, and on 1st January, 1901, the appointed day, the Commonwealth of Australia came into being. Western Australia having by this time accepted the Constitution, the Commonwealth included the whole six colonies.

The foundation of the Commonwealth and the Constitution upon an Act of the Imperial Parliament checks all argument as to the legal origin of either; we are thus spared some of the speculations which political communities of this type appear to invite. It enables

also to recognise the


$ This chapter is based upon a section written by the author for the Federal Handbook published in connection with the Australasian meeting of the British Association in 1914, and acknowledgment is due to Mr. G. H. Knibb:', C.M.G., the Editor of the Handbook, for permission to make use of the section.

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