Bound with the empire: Narratives of race, nation, and empire in the Australian Labor Party's defence policy, 1901-21

Mark Hearn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From federation in 1901 and into the post-First World War period, the Australian Labor Party attempted to manage the competing tensions of nationalism, empire loyalty, and a White Australia, that may be described as Labor's empire nationalism. This article traces its influence on the Party's defence policy, identifying the development of Labor's empire nationalism in the period before the First World War; the relationship between Labor's empire nationalism and the disastrous split over conscription in 1916, and the Party's subsequent policy struggles in the period 1917-21 - trying to reconcile a new radical nationalism with Australia's continuing place in the British Empire, while continuing to champion a White Australia. By 1921 the ambiguities of the Party's mission and identity, its loyalties torn between nation and empire, remained starkly inscribed in its defence policy, reflecting Labor's struggle to renew its appeal to Australian society: at once radical and reactive, assertively nationalist while bound with the ties of empire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-115
Number of pages21
JournalWar and Society
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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