In 1901 when federation was declared it was the merging of the six separate Australian colonies that formed what is now the Commonwealth of Australia. Federation occurred for many reasons including the need to unite Australia’s defence unit. As well as the need for a common approach to bank laws, currency, measurements and weight. A federation would also eradicate taxes and tariffs resulting in better free trade and communication between states. Not to mention the “White Australia” policy that would be enabled. Federation occurred through the aid of many political leaders, federation lobby groups, a number of constitutional drafts and the people of Australia through a series of conventions held in different colonies.
One of the key reasons for Federation was to unite Australia’s defence. Each individual state’s defence force was not strong enough to protect Australia’s vast coastline from attack. It therefore made good sense to unite the defence under one command. As well as aiding in Australia’s defence, Federation would make uniform the different bank laws, taxes and tariffs, making it easier to trade, travel and communicate between states. It would also change railway-track sizes so they were identical everywhere, allowing people to stay on the same train instead of changing at each states border. In addition, Federation would also improve Australia’s economy by forming better trade laws, such as free trade between states.
Furthermore, many people believed a Federated Australia would help to make a “White Australia” possible, by toughening immigration laws. 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 allowe