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soc.culture.australian FAQ (Part 3 of 6) (monthly posting)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 )
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Archive-name: australian-faq/part3
Last-modified: 2 April 1996
Version: 3.10

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

PART I (separate posting)
1.About soc.culture.australian
2.How to find Australians, Australian Information
  2.1 on the net
      2.1.1 Public access sites 
      2.1.2 Gopher and WWW
      2.1.3 Weather
      2.1.4 Finding people
      2.1.5 Other
  2.2 elsewhere
  3.1 Australian citizenship
  3.2 Dual Citizenship of other countries
  3.3 Visas
      3.3.1 For Foreigners in Australia
      3.3.2 For Australians in other Countries
  3.4 Immigration
      3.4.1 Addresses
      3.4.2 Criteria and Points System 
      3.4.3 Spouse/fiance(e) immigration              
      3.4.4 Employers sponsoring foreign employees
  3.5 Emigrants
PART II (separate posting)
4.Coming to Australia
  4.1 Quarantine
  4.2 Standards
  4.3 Cars
       4.3.1 Car Insurance 
  4.4 Shipping Information
  4.5 Miscellaneous        
  4.6 Australians returning Home
5.Studying in Australia
  5.1 Overview of Australian Higher Education
  5.2 Postgraduate Study
  5.3 Miscellaneous Questions
  5.4 "Classification" of Australian Universities 
  5.5 Academic Addresses
  5.6 Australian Medical Schools
6.For Australians Overseas
  6.1 Radio Australia
  6.2 Newspapers:
  6.3 Australiana in the USA
  6.4 Video Conversion 
  6.5 Expatriate organisation
  6.6 Oz News
PART III (this posting)
  7.1 Pre-Europeans
  7.2 European Discovery
  7.3 European settlement
      7.3.1 Penal Colony
      7.3.2 Gold Rush
      7.3.3 Post WWI Immigration
      7.3.4 Miscellaneous
           (includes Tasmanian Aborigines)
  7.4 Political History
      7.4.1 Independence
      7.4.2 Aboriginal Voting
  7.5 Wars
      7.5.1 Boer War
      7.5.2 World War I
      7.5.3 World War II
      7.5.4 Korea, Vietnam and others
  7.6 National heroes/Notable Australians   
  7.7 Miscellaneous
  8.1 Political System 
  8.2 Voting System 
  8.3 Current governments
  8.4 Taxation
  8.5 The Independence Debate
  8.6 Mabo
  8.7 Health Care
      8.7.1 Medicare
      8.7.2 Medicare Levy
      8.7.3 Doctors
      8.7.4 Fees
      8.7.5 Public Hospitals
      8.7.6 Private Hospitals
      8.7.7 Aged Care
      8.7.8 Skin Cancer
  8.8 Economic Information
PART IV (separate posting)
9.Geography, Natural History
  9.1 Geographic information
  9.1 Cities and Population
  9.2 National Holidays
  9.3 Weather 
  9.4 Flora
      9.4.1 Extinct Species
  9.5 Fauna
      9.5.1 Monotremes
      9.5.2 Marsupials
      9.5.3 Tasmanian devils and Tasmanian Tigers
      9.5.4 Venomous Fauna
      9.5.5 Extinct and Endangered Species
      9.5.6 Koalas
  9.6 National Symbols
      9.6.1 Flag
      9.6.2 Coat of arms
10.Australian Life
  10.1 Housing
  10.2 Schooling
  10.3 Public Transport
  10.4 Roads
  10.5 Prices
  10.6 Shopping Hours
  10.7 Crime
  10.8 Sport
PART V (separate posting)
  11.1 Money      
  11.2 Jet-lag
  11.3 Responses to 3 questions      
  11.4 Travel Reports and Recommendations
       11.4.1 A Trip description 
       11.4.2 Uluru (Ayers Rock)
       11.4.3 Places of interest in Tasmania
       11.4.4 Accommodation tips to the low budget motorhome traveller (BB)
       11.4.5 Adelaide and SA
       11.4.6 Touring Australia by Motorcycle [C]
       11.4.7 Cheap travel agent [RM]
       11.4.8 Places of Interest in Melbourne
       11.4.9 Australia from south to north [JO]
  11.5 Advice for Australians in ....
       11.5.1 United Kingdom
       11.5.2 United States
       11.5.3 Canada
  12.1 Australian pronounciation
  12.2 Australian spelling
  12.3 Australian slang, word origins
  12.4 Australian word usage (misc)
PART VI (separate posting)
  13.1 Recipes and food
       13.1.1 Vegemite
       13.1.2 Sweets recipes: anzac biscuits, pavlova, lamingtons,
                                chocolate crackles
       13.1.3 Meat Pies, Damper, Galah, pumpkin soup
       13.1.4 Misc
  13.2 Songs 
       13.2.1 "Waltzing Matilda",  by Banjo Paterson (3 versions :-)
       13.2.2 "Advance Australia Fair", National Anthem
       13.2.3 "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", Eric Bogle
       13.2.4  "Tie me kangaroo down" (Rolf Harris)
  13.3 Literature
       13.3.1 Fiction
       13.3.2 Poetry
	- "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar
	- "The Man From Snowy River" by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson
       13.3.3 Children's Literature
       13.3.4 Non-Fiction
  13.4 Films 
  13.5 Music
       13.5.1 Classical
       13.5.2 Pop
       13.5.3 Jazz
       13.5.4 Other
   13.6 Opera
   13.7 Ballet
   13.8 Theatre
14. Contributors

A major reorganisation has been done (June 1994) and some sections are
incomplete. Contributions welcome - send to Stephen Wales,



[Any volunteers for writing some history sections? I don't have
access to reference books. AN]

7.1 Pre-Europeans
7.2 European Discovery
7.3 European settlement

7.3.1 Penal Colony
7.3.2 Gold Rush
7.3.3 Post WWI Immigration
7.3.4 Miscellaneous

* Tasmanian Aborigines and Trugannini

The "tradition" view [AD]:

The last hundred survivors of the Tasmanian aborigines were
rounded up in an operation known as the "black line" about the
1850s.  They were all moved to a settlement on Flinders Island at
a place called Wybalenna.  They were forced to adopt "christian"
society clothing/behaviour..  They gradually died out from the
european diseases until, when there were only about 30 left they
were moved to Oyster Cove in southern Tasmania.  They gradually
died out.

The last male survivor was William Lanney.  He was murdered
during a boat trip across a river.  He was thrown from the boat
and his hands cut off as he tried to return to the boat.  After
he was buried grave robbers removed his head to sell to British

The last female survivor was Trucaninni (or Truganinni) who was
also known as Lallah Rookh.  She died in about 1878.  There are
unconfirmed reports of two elderly ladies living on Kangaroo
Island (i think) South Australia until about the 1890s.

There are NO full blood aborigines alive today.  A fair few
aborigines live on Cape Barren Island, just south of Flinders
Island (in Bass strait between Tasmania and Victoria).  Racism
on the islands is rife IMHO.

White sealers often stole aboriginal women for their sex slaves,
and half-castes were generally descended from these situations.
The women were known as " gins" and were roughly treated.

An interesting facet of this story is that in 1984, the Tasmanian
Museum discovered an Edison Cylindrical Phonograph record in it's
coffers which had recordings of a half-caste lady (who claimed
she was full blooded).  She was singing traditional aboriginal
songs.  The recording was made in 1902.  A very stirring feeling
listening to this 90 year old recording of a vanished culture and
it makes me feel very ashamed to be a white Tasmanian.

[XXX Can someone write a paragraph about how there really
are Tasmanian aboriginals left? AN]

7.4 Political History

7.4.1 History of Australian "Independence" 

* Outline [ZS]

1-Jan-1901 - Federation: After many years of debate the six British
colonies have finally agreed to unite, and on this date become a
federation of six states under an Act of the British parliament.  In
many respects the new federation is an independent country.  It has
its own constitution, its own parliament and is responsible for its
own laws, police, defence, currency, immigration and so on.  However,
legal, economic and social ties to Britain remain very strong.  The
British monarchy has a formal role in the Australian government.  Some
court cases can be appealed to British courts.  Furthermore, at least
in theory, Britain could overrule Australian laws or even change the
constitution.  As a practical matter, Australians see themselves as a
loyal part of the British Empire. [RS]

[MJ] I disagree that Australia was in any great sense an independent
country at this point.  It was self-governing, yes, but it had no foreign 
policy of its own (the lack of a provision for this in the constitution
has caused problems in recent years; largely it has been made up by
the high court, no terribly satisfactory in my opinion) and the 
British government had an absolute right of veto over Australian
law (see section 59 of the constitution: in its original form when
the constitution gives powers to the 'Queen', the Queen is acting on the 
advice of her British government: when the power is given to the 
'Governor-General' the G-G is acting on the advice of the Australian 

1931 - The UK passes the Statute of Westminster act.  This grants
independence to Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa; it also
authorises the Australian Parliament to declare independence whenever
it feels like it.  However, the Australian States are specifically
excluded from the act.

[MJ] IMO, this is the best date from which to say Australia was
independent.  This is open to debate of course.  It was a gradual

3-Sep-1939 - WWII breaks out; nothing directly significant to
independence happens, but this date will become significant later.

1942 - Australia passes the Statute of Westminster Acceptance Act,
thus declaring independence; the Act is backdated to 3-Sep-1939.
However, as mentioned before, the States remained colonies.  From
3-Sep-1939, the Commonwealth of Australia is an independent country
made up of a federation of six British colonies!  The UK no longer has
the power to make laws, give orders, or in any other way interfere
with the Commonwealth of Australia; but it can, and occasionally does,
interfere with the States.

1986 - Australia, the UK, and all six States pass the Australia Act,
and the Queen comes out here to sign it.  Among other things, this act
finally grants independence to the States.

[MJ] And this ends appeals to British courts from state courts.  At the 
federal level, this right had been given up several decades earlier.

1992. The Australian Republican Movement is launched as a
"non-political" organisation.  (See Section 8.5 below).

* Comments [JB]

I think that Zev was just a teensy bit sweeping in describing the
new Commonwealth as a colony. While its status fell a long way short
of the independence we "enjoy" today, it was in no ways the same as a
common or garden colony.  Let me gives some examples.

During WWI the British army passed a routine request to the Aus,
Canadian, NZ, SA, etc. governments that their troops be dealt with
under the usual military law. While all the other Dominions agreed,
Australia refused (memories of Morant, etc. being still rather
bitter). The Brits muttered, complained, but could not override.
Consequently although New Zealanders and Canadians are among the 500
odd troops shot for "cowardice" in France, there are no Australians. I
do not think this was the outcome we would have seen if Australia had
just been a colony.

When Queensland "colonized" Papua in 189x(?), the Poms kicked up a
stink and took it (reluctantly) for themselves, saying that colonies
could not have colonies of their own (unlike fleas.) Papua was handed
to Australia in 1906, so in that respect, at least, the Commonwealth
was not regarded as a colony.

The battle by Hughes, et al. for separate representation at Versailles
was also an interesting commentary on attitudes to colonies. While the
UK obviously did not regard us as a colony, they *did* regard as as
being part of their Empire. So did the Yanks, and in fact Wilson was
quite opposed to separate representation.

All these points are a bit subtle though, and I think Zev's original
statement is closer to the truth than the usual guff about us becoming
a "new nation" at federation. I also agree that our *real*
independence began in 1986, although I don't think it will be absolute
until we are rid of the monarchy, the Act of Settlement, etc. etc.

7.4.2 Aboriginal Voting [JM]

* 1900	 

The original constitution *guarantees* the Federal vote to anyone
who has it at State level (refer Section 41).  Because
aboriginals had the vote in all states except Queensland and
Western Australia, they were able to vote in Federal elections in
those states (and have always been able to do so.)

There was also no *specific* exclusion of aboriginals from voting
at Federal Elections in Queensland and WA, and some actually did.
The major hurdle, however, was that state officials maintained
both state and federal rolls and in most cases illegally blocked
attempts by aboriginals in those states to enroll for Federal

The effect of section 30 (to which you refer) is to ensure that
those aboriginals who *did* have the vote, also got counted when
determining the size of electorates thereby skirting the
provision of section 127 which said they weren't to be counted.
(Confused? Well, so am I, but they spent 10 years in the 1890's
writing this thing.)
* 1918	 

In 1918, the Electoral Act formalised voting procedures for
Federal elections.  This however was a setback for aboriginals in
Queensland and WA because it contained provisions that brought
State and Federal rolls into line.  This meant they could *not*
vote in Federal Elections unless they also had the vote in State

Another apparently innocent provision of the Electoral Act was
used for many years in the Northern Territory to deny the vote to
large numbers of aboriginals.  Although aborigines were compelled
to enroll like all other voters, local officials often had them
declared wards of the state.  Wards of the state were prohibited
from voting at that time, possibly because wards were usually the
mentally ill.

* 1948	 

UN Declaration on Human Rights passed and ratified by Australia in
1949.  At this point, the Federal Government had perfect moral grounds
for reenfranchising aborigines in WA and QLD, but failed to do so.

* 1957     

ILO Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People passed and ratified
by Australia the following year.  This was another lost opportunity to
reenfranchise aboriginals in WA and QLD.

* 1958 

However, a parliamentary committee was convened which was to
recommend changes to the Electoral Act, repeal of Section 127 of the
Constitution and transfer of responsibility for aborigines from the
States to Canberra (basically because QLD and WA weren't to be
trusted).  This is basically the agenda of the 1963 Electoral Act
amendments and the 1967 referendum (see below).

Throughout the 1950's members from both sides of Parliament made
attempts to amend the Electoral Act.  These included Gough Whitlam who
made several speech and introduced amendments on several occasions,
and Malcolm Fraser who centered his first speech on apartheid and
touched on Australia's treatment of its own people.

* 1963	 

The Federal Government amended the Electoral Act to enfranchise
aborigines in WA and QLD at Federal Elections.  However they were
still unable to vote in State elections.
Some of the background to this event was only revealed recently when
the cabinet papers were released under the 30 year rule.  It appears
that the Attorney General Garfield Barwick recommended that the
constitution *also* be amended at this time.  The PM Robert Menzies
overruled his cabinet and rejected this, accepting only the Electoral
Act changes.  Garfield Barwick had apparently also tried the previous
year to get these changes through.

* 1966 Robert Menzies retires, and legislation is passed for the 1967
referendum under the new PM Harold Holt.

* 1967 Referendum is passed overwhelmingly:

Highest result: 95% yes in Victoria 
Lowest result:  71% yes in WA

It was defeated in only *one* of over 1200 electoral subdistricts.  No
referendum has ever been more convincingly passed.  As a result of
this referendum aboriginals: (1) gain the vote in WA and QLD *State*
elections, and (2) become citizens. Also power for their welfare
passes to the Federal government which is able to initiate spending on
health, education and housing programs (and later land rights).


1. Aborigines had the Federal vote in 1900 in all states and
territories (bar the shenanigans of local officials), but could not
vote in WA and QLD State elections.  They have always had the vote in
all other States and Territories at both State and Federal level.

2. They lost the Federal vote in 1918 in WA and QLD

3. They regained it in WA and QLD in 1963

4. They became citizens in 1967, and gained the right to vote in WA and
QLD state elections.

The transfer of responsibility for aborigines to Canberra also allowed
Canberra to implement the UN Declaration of Human Rights and initiate
improvements in living conditions.

It is apparent that the long post WWII delay was due to the attitude
of Robert Menzies.  Despite broad, cross party support for aboriginal
enfranchisement and improvement of their plight, *no* action was taken
during most of the Menzies era (from 1949 to 1966).  The sole action
of granting the vote in 1963 was undertaken against his wishes and
only after much prodding.

Before 1967, the effect of Section 51 (xxvi) was to *prevent* the
Federal Government from spending *any* money on aboriginal programs.
Post 1967, it has allowed the Federal Government to undertake these
programs (remember that the Australian Federal Government is
constitutionally able to undertake *only* those activities specifically
allocated to it.)  The section does not really allow apartheid either.

The Mabo decision specifically excludes the use of this section to
override the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act (which itself
implements obligations placed on us by the UN Declaration of Human
Rights via the External Affairs power.)  Given that the Mabo decision
firmly establishes a non-racial basis to Australian common law, it is
very unlikely they would turn around and undo things.  (It is also
useful to remember that Mabo is not a "bolt from the blue", but simply
a relatively minor consequential decision based on many others over
the previous 30 years.)

A lot of anti-Mabo argument runs the line that all special legislation is
racist by definition, however:
- the Racial Discrimination Act allows positive discrimination,
- the High Court was invited to consider a racist interpretation namely
  that while Eddie Mabo et al. where entitled to native title, that
  mainland aboriginals were "more primitive" and therefore could not
  benefit from the same entitlements.  The court specifically
  rejected this conclusion as "obnoxious".
- the ILO and UN conventions outline *minimum* standards, and specifically
  state that they cannot be used to reduce or eliminate existing rights
  which exceed their requirements.  This in itself would make racist 
  laws unconstitutional.

7.5 Wars

7.5.1 Boer War

7.5.2 World War I

7.5.3 World War II

[I have included this as it was originally posted by Kym.  I am aware of
 flame ware that went on over some of the figures here, but please don't
 go flaming me over it.  If someone wants to send me an opposing view, I'll
 include it for completeness, but don't argue with me over the content
 without providing your own figures - I'll ignore it - SW]

The following are notes gleaned from here and there regarding
Australia's part in WWII. Typically I have tried to stick to "facts"
with no note taken of political events or historical opinion albeit
the former are of primary importance. Where politics or personal bias
have entered I make no apology. ;-)

A brief history of WWII from the Australian perspective

Sep 3 39. GB declares war on Germany and Menzies says "so is
Australia".  Australia provides 1 div initially but public pressure
eventually means 4 are sent.

Feb 40. The 6th div 2 AIF reaches Palestine to reinforce the 8th Brit
Army. The 7th div is dispatched to Syria, the 8th to Malaya and the
9th to N Africa.

19 Mar 40. RG Casey goes to Washington as a "provider of Australian
opinion on world-wide events".

27 May 40. Menzies supports appeal by Britain to US for aid.

14 Jun 40. Menzies writes to Roosevelt: 
"At this moment the eyes of the whole liberty-loving world are turned
to you and your great people. I believe that even now, if the United
States, by a magnificent and immortal gesture, could make available
to the Allies the whole of her financial and material resources,
Germany could be defeated. The effect on the spirit of France would be
trasfiguring, and the whole of the English-speaking peoples of the
world would, by one stroke, be welded into a brotherhood of world
salvation. On behalf of the people of Australia and the future of this
land, I appeal to you for the fullest measure of co-operation and
help".  In response to requests from Britain Roosevelt sent materiel to
aid GB. It also geared up its own armed forces in response to Japanese
expansion in the Pacific.

19 Jul 40. Sydney sinks the Bartolomeo Colleoni in the Mediterranean.

Feb 41. One Australian brigade is sent to Singapore.

Jan 41. 6th div attacks Italian positions in N Africa and captures
Tobruk and Benghazi. 10 Italian divs effectively cease to exist by

18 Feb 41. 8th div lands at Singapore.

Mar 41. 6th div goes to Greece to protect against German
invasion. They are eventually forced to Crete and captured on June 2
after surviving attack from May 20 by German paratroops and gliders.
3000 Australians from 6th and 7th div become POWs.

June 41. The SU joins the Allies against Germany after German
Operation Barbarosa invades the SU after Germany's previously "non
aggression pact".

19 Nov 41. Sydney sunk off WA by German commerce raider.

7 Dec 41. Japan attacks Pearl Harbour in an attempt to sink US Pac
fleet. US declares war on Japan. At this time Australian troops are
fighting in Malaya to prevent the Japanese advance.  As historians
have said before the attack by the Japanese achieved what the allies
had failed to do -- force the US into an active role in the
war. Roosevelt declared war on both Japan and Germany and prepared to
defend the US interests in the Pacific.

Dec 8 41. HK and Singapore are bombed and the Philippines is attacked.
Of greater concern to Curtin than Pearl was the Japanese attack on the
Malayan coast and Singapore. As a result of the attacks on British
territory Australia was at war with Japan.

10 Dec 41. The British battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales are
sunk off Malaya.  With this went Australia's hopes the British navy
could keep Australia safe. Britain also said it was unable to aid
Australia because of the war in Europe and Australia began to look
more to the US for aid against the Japanese.

25 Dec 41. Honk Kong falls.

27 Dec 41. PM John Curtin calls on the US to help Australia against
the Japanese.  Subsequently, the Australian and US govts disagreed
about the direction of the war. The US ignored British and Australian
requests for an independent Pacific after the war and resisted their
attempts at making decisions regarding the future of Japan.  In
Australia large numbers of US servicemen caused a variety of
responses. Initial curiosity gave way to resentment as local service
industries such as pubs and hotels catered for US tastes much to the
dismay of local patrons. Tensions came to a head on more than one
occasion. The "Brisbane riots" -- a street battle between Aussie and US
servicemen -- left an unknown number dead and wounded. Little news of
such events was released during the war.

22 Jan 42. Rabaul falls in Australian New Guinea. 23K Australian
troops become Japanese POWs by March 42 with the subsequent losses of
Timor and Ambiona.

15 Feb 42. Singapore falls. 17K more Australians become POWs.
Australian troops are recalled from the Middle East and N Africa.

19 Feb 42. Japan attacks Australian mainland with air-raids comparable
to those at Pearl.  Headlines of the time read "Invaders now 650 miles
from Darwin".
According to the now "authorative" figure the number killed during the
2 air-raid attacks on Darwin was 243. However, this doesn't include
the numbers killed on foreign vessels in the harbour at the time of
the raids.  Official reports at the time put the dead at 9.
Apparently the number of Japanese aircraft used in the first raid
exceeded even in absolute terms the attack on Pearl Harbour. Pearl was
a city and Darwin a village. Some exaggerated reports in 1921 put the
population of Darwin at around 1,400.

Mar 42. MacArthur arrives in Darwin after his defeat in the
Philippines.  He demands and is given control of Australian forces. In
April he is made Allied Supreme Commander in the Pacific. He has final
say over what information is given to the press and there is some
carping from that quarter regarding same.

May 4-8 42. Battle of the Coral Sea involving US and Aus navies.
Prevents Japan from taking Pt Moresby.

1 Jun 42. Japan attacks Sydney with minisubs. A number of casualties
and boats sunk. The "authorative" figure put the Aussie dead at 19. All
subs were sunk.

23  June 42. The Japanese land at Gonu and advance to Pt Moresby.

Aug 42. US marines in the Solomons. But until June 43 they were not in
sufficient strength to prevail over Japanese forces.

26 Aug 42. Japan attempts to land at Milne Bay in NG. An earlier Aussie
landing prevents its success. The ensuing battle is a severe defeat
for Japan.

29 Sep 42. Australians advance and capture Ioribaiwa Ridge. After this
victory the Australian forces are not defeated by the Japanese in NG
or elsewhere.  Subsequent combined US and Australian ops on E coast of
NG bypass Gona and Buna mop up other Japanese forces.

15 Jan 43. The US navy involved at Guadal canal.

25 Jan 43. Japanese troops surrender to Australians ending the Kakoda
Trail Campaign.

3 Mar 43. Battle of Bismark Sea involves USAF and RAAF.

Nov 43. Japanese raids are no longer a threat to Australia.
After this time MacArthur develops the "island-hopping strategy"
whereby islands are bypassed where they present no advantage to the
allies. This tactic avoids un-necessary losses at the time, but the
bypassed islands must later be mopped up. The US now plans to move to
the Philippines and makes clear there is no place for Australia in
this campaign. Australian troops are therefore sent to "mop
up". Australian casualties were heavy during this phase and Aussie
commanders were frequently critical about the value of such battles.

Oct 44. US reaches Leyte Is in the Philippines. But the Is is not
under US control until mid Sep 45.

May 45. Australian troops operating in N Borneo.

2 May 45. Australian attack Tarakan.

9 May 45. Australians capture Tarakan. Elsewhere it's VE day.

10 June 45. Brunei and Labuan attacked by Australian troops.

1 July 45. Australians attack Balikpapan meeting stiff resistance.
Japanese suffer significant casualties. While significant, Australian
casualties are not as high.

6 Aug 45. Atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

9 Aug 45. Atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

15 Aug 45. Japan surrenders. VJ day.

Aug 45. Bypassed islands must be mopped up. Some of this dirty work is
left to the Australians.


Australian casualties.

War population round 7.6 mn. 30K were killed in WWII, 95K wounded.
Together this reps 1.7% of the population. Altogether there were 1 mn
Australians serving in the forces including 66K servicewomen.  23K
Australians were captured and were POWs.  The number of Australians to
face Japanese forces exceeded the numbers of Americans.

According to exact figures from "Australian Political Facts" by
McAllister et al:
                       served   killed  wounded
WWII      1939-45      993,000  26,951  23,214

US casualties.

Wartime population round 145 mn. Around 15 mn served, 11.5 mn went
overseas, 1/4 mn faced Japanese troops. A total of 1 mn casualties
including 304K killed representing 0.7% of the population.

7.5.4 Korea, Vietnam and others

7.6 National heroes/Notable Australians   

[AN: Contributions solicited! Possible candidates: Phar Lap, Ned
Kelly, Harry (The Breaker) Morant, Private John Simpson & his donkey,
Edward (Weary) Dunlop, Dawn Fraser, Charles Kingsford-Smith, Kay
Cottee, Dick Smith, Mary McKillop, Caroline Chisolm, Nellie Melba,
Joan Sutherland, Rolf Harris, Barry Humphries ... Winged keel??? [RS]]

Ned Kelly's skull and Phar Lap's heart (you beaut)
Lie enshrined in Canberra's Institute.
But a truer statement of the statesman's art
Would be Phar Lap's skull & Mr Kelly's heart.

* Don Bradman [RS]

Bradman, Sir Donald George (1908- ), cricket world's most famous
batsman. Born at Cootamundra NSW. Made his first century playing for
Bowral High School at age 12.  His career in the Australian domestic
competition, the Sheffield Shield, spanned 22 years playing for NSW
(1927-1934) and South Australia (1935-1949). He made a total of 8926
runs at an average of 110 at this level of cricket.

Most famous are his Test Match batting exploits against England for
the prized "Ashes" (the symbol of cricket supremacy between Australia
and England). So successful was he in the 1929 England tour that by
the time of the reciprocal 1932/33 English tour, the England captain,
Douglas Jardine, devised a bowling strategy around limiting Bradman's
prodigious scoring talents. England's fast bowlers would direct the
ball at a batsman's rib cage or throat hoping that the ball would be
parried to one of a number of close-in fieldsmen. The infamous
"Bodyline" tactic was not only applied to Bradman but also to the less
able batsmen which raised howls of outrage from the Australian public.
Bodyline was subsequently outlawed.

Apart from one Test match in the 1932-33 series, Bradman played in
every Australia-England Test match between 1928 and his retirement at
the end of the 1948 season. As a test captain from 1936-48, he did not
lose an Ashes series and the 1948 tour did not result in a single
defeat. An achievement unequalled by any touring Australian team
before or since.

He also played Test cricket against the West Indies (1930-31), South
Africa (1931-32) and India (1947-48). In all, Don Bradman played 52
Test matches, scored an aggregate 6996 runs at an average of 99.94.
Where Test Match batting averages of around 50 or 60 earns a player
the label of a "great", the Don's greatness as a batsman is more than
just an exaggerated legend.

* Ned Kelly [SR]

Ned Kelly was a bushranger, or outlaw who gained notoriety last
century with his gang "The Kelly Gang".  They were responsible for
many holdups of travellers.  His "trademark" was an iron helmet and
breastplate which he fashioned from an old plough late in his
"career".  He was finally captured in a bloody shootout at a place
called Glenrowan, where the gang was besieged by troopers.  I think
the gang was all killed, except for Kelly who stood off the troopers
in his armour until his wounds overcame him.  He was promptly hung a
short time later, his last words being "Such is life".  It should not
be too difficult to find more information in any book of Australian
folklore, as he has attained the fame in Australia that outlaws in
America have similarly received.

* Frank Hardy [JS]

Feb 4, 1994. Frank Hardy died last weekend. He was found in his
reading chair, holding a racing form. Many people have said that
that's the way he'd have wanted to go.

Frank Hardy was a novelist, communist and sometime anarchist. Although
I deplore his politics, especially his earlier support of Stalinism, I
cannot but admire someone so committed to justice.  He was most famous
for his novel _Power Without Glory_ (see Section 14.3.1); the fictional
story of an imaginary racketeer named John West who rose to power in
Melbourne through his involvement in illegal gambling. Hardy was sued
for libel by businessman John Wren on behalf of Wren's wife for the
many admitted similarities in their lives stories.

With the death of Frank Hardy we have lost another hold on our past.
In his larrakin contempt for the establishment and his sometimes rowdy
support for the working class was represented the true Labor hero,
before champagne and high society dinners were acceptable. More than
Labor's loss, the Conservatives have lost a worthy foe. All of
Australia is the poorer for Frank Hardy's passing.

[AT] While Power Without Glory was his most famous work in some
circles since it ended up as a TV series.  Probably his best novel was
"But The Dead Are Many".  He also produced several novels with a
humorous bent, based on glorifying class struggle.  Off hand, I can
remember _The Outcasts Of Foolgarah_.  Also, he was not initially sued
for libel.  He was charged with criminal libel.  This is a rarely
invoked law which is a criminal rather than civil offence.  That is,
they arrest you and lock you away.  Wasn't there a foreward to Power
Without Glory which described his arrest ?

[JL] It depends which edition you have :-). The full story of the
attack on Power is contained in Frank's book "The Hard Way". My parents
knew Frank and Roslyn well. Mum's favourite recollection of Frank is a
non political one. Occasionally he used to ring her for a lift home
when "under the weather". Due to this state, whenever they hit a
corner on her motorbike, he would lean against the turn, trying to
stay upright. If you have ever tried to cope with this you will know
why she remembers it.  I understand a lot of the binding of the
(illegal) second edition was done in my grandmother's best (never
used) bedroom, and that the wardrobe was used to store them.  BTW the
author on the early copies of Power was Ross Franklyn - a near anagram
of Frank and Roslyn.

[JL] Frank made many contributions to political life in Australia. His
support for aboriginal land rights, and the Gurindji in particular,
exemplified this. I don't suppose there would be many ex-servicemen
who remember him from the Northern Territory and WWII on the net :-)

I used to have a copy of "Journey into the Future" somewhere, which
was Frank's book extolling the virtues of the Soviet bloc during the
fifties.  I always remember talking to Dorothy Healy, a socialist from
the New American Movement, about the seemingly uncritical support of
the Soviet Union by older comrades. Her reply was to the effect that
when it was the only country moving towards socialism, and under
attack from all sides, such support was understandable. In the 1970's
(when this discussion took place) this was not tenable, as there were
many countries trying many different alternative forms of government,
and unconditional support for any one country was not logical.  Frank
was a product of his era, his shortcoming should be measured against
that era, and his achievements remembered.  I wonder, when they went
across for a drink after the eulogy, whether they left a glass on the
bar? Frank would have liked that.

7.7 Miscellaneous


8.1 Political System 

Australia is an independent commonwealth of 6 states, 2 territories
and a number of island and territorial dependencies.  It is a member
of the Commonwealth of Nations, United Nations, ANZUS, OECD.  The form
of government is a constitutional monarchy. The Queen Elizabeth II of
Great Britain is also Queen of Australia, and Head of State. Her
representative in Australia is the Governor-General, Bill Hayden since

The Commonwealth of Australia uses the Westminster system of government.  
The head of State is the Queen, represented here by the Governor-General.
The G-G is advised by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Normally the 
convention says that the G-G "does what they tell him", but he has 
considerable "reserve powers". These powers are not necessarily spelled
out by the Constitution.

The federal parliamentary system consists of two houses of Parliament.
The lower house is the House of Representatives. The party which has
the most representatives in the lower house forms a government.  The
leader of that party becomes Prime Minister, and he (no women PMs as
yet) forms a Cabinet.  The usual term of office is 3 years, although
the PM may call an election early.  The Upper House is the Senate, the
"State House", like the US Senate. It consists of of 12 senators from
each state and 2 from each territory.  They have 6 year terms and half
face re-election every 3 years.  The upper house is generally a house
of review.  The Senate stands for a fixed term give or take a couple
of months, but the House of Representatives can be dissolved and an
election called by the cabinet. Elections only stay in sync by the
House of Representatives running full term, or the government
engineering a double dissolution.

[Begin MJ]
    It is slightly (!) more complicated than this. From a reading
of the constitution, I came up with the following summary of the 
rules as to when elections can be held for the two houses.

    An election for the House of Representatives must be held
within three years after the first sitting of the previous parliament.
This parliament must sit within one month of the return of the writs
for the election. (Practically, this means that the gap between 
elections can be as long as three years and three months.)
    Normally, only half of the senate is elected at one time,
An election for half of the senate must be held not less than five
years and not more than six years after the first of July FOLLOWING
the last election for that half of the senate.
    In special circumstances (if the House of Representatives 
passes a bill and the Senate rejects it, and the Representatives
passes it again and the Senate rejects it again three months later)
a double dissolution may be called, providing that term of the House of
Representatives has more than six months to run. In this case,
an election for half the senate must be called more than two 
but less than three years after the first of July PRECEDING the
election following the double dissolution, and an election for the
other half of the senate must be called more than five but less than
six years after the first of July PRECEDING the election following 
the double dissolution.
    For practical reasons, it is standard practice to hold elections
for both houses on the same day, either by having a double dissolution or
by choosing an election day in which it is constitutionally possible to 
hold both an election for the representatives and a half senate election.

    Thus, if the Prime Minister wishes to hold an election, he has the
following constraints in choosing the day.

    (1) In any situation, he can hold a double dissolution, provided
that he has a hostile senate (or can contrive something) provided that 
his term of the Representatives has at least six months to run and provided
that he has prepared for himself to do this three months earlier.
    (2) If neither of the two previous elections have been double 
dissolutions, he must hold the election within three and a bit years
of the last election and between five and six years after the first
of July following the election before last
    (3) If the last election was not a double dissolution, but the
election before last was a double dissolution, he must hold the election 
within three and a bit years of the last election and between five and 
six years after the first of July preceding the election before last.
    (4) If the last election was a double dissolution, he must hold
the election between two and three years after the first of July preceding
the last election.

    Interestingly enough, this means that in certain circumstances, the
term for which a government is elected is significantly shorter than the
already short three years. For instance, Labor was elected (after a double
dissolution) in March 1983, and had to go to the polls again by July
1985 (and actually went in late 1984).

    The combination of these rules often leads to a government having
vary little latitude in when it can hold an election, despite the fact
that we technically don't have a fixed term of parliament.
    The other advantage a government gets by holding a double dissolution
is that if the senate blocks its legislation twice at three month intervals, 
and then after having a double dissolution and election the senate still
blocks its legislation, the government can then convene a joint sitting 
of both houses that can pass the legislation by an absolute majority. Due
to the fact that the Representatives is much larger in size, the government
nearly always has a majority in a joint sitting. Essentially, the purpose
of a double dissolution is to allow a government to steamroll its electoral
program through a hostile senate if it can get a reasonably strong electoral
mandate to do so for a specific (and predefined) program of legislation.
The penalty paid (besides the risk of losing the election) is that the
term of office after a double dissolution is shorter than for other elections.
(considering the present state of the Senate and the recovering state of the
Australian economy, it would be prepared to wager a small sum of money
that the next federal election will take place between July and December
[end MJ]

Much of the Westminster system relies on convention and not written
rules, so often reading the Constitution is of no help if you are not
a Constitutional lawyer - its doesn't always say quite what it means
or mean quite what it says, if you are unbriefed in the vagaries of
these things. It was modelled on several other nations' constitutions
(incl. the US). There is no Bill of Rights or other "amendments" to
the constitution as Americans are familiar with the concept - it
merely defines the way the governments works.

[begin MJ]

    Also Canada and Switzerland in particular. The 'conventions'
were largely inherited from the British. I disagree that reading the
constitution is of 'no help': a lot of it is quite clear. Of course
one should pay attention to legal opinion as well. However, laws
have been getting more and more complicated in recent years. Compared
with virtually any recent act of parliament, the constitution makes
very easy reading.

    There are some 'rights' guaranteed in the constitution: for
instance the right to trial by jury and the right to fair compensation
if your property is taken over by the government. Unfortunately, these
apply only to the doings of the federal government. State governments
(to the extent limited by their own constitutions) can still lock 
you up for no reason or turn your land into a freeway without compensating

[end MJ]

For an illustration of the "convention" problem, for instance, the
Prime Minister, who is the effective Head of Government, is hardly (if
at all) mentioned in the Constitution. The Prime Minister is elected
by the House of Representatives. The PM then appoints the Cabinet.

[begin MJ]

    The PM is not mentioned at all in the constitutions.  The authors
of the constitution were not sure that there would even be a PM.
They certainly thought that British style 'responsible government'
was possible, but decided to allow the structure of the executive 
to evolve by itself.  The sections of the constitution describing the
executive government are thus deliberately vague.

[end MJ]

The power of the Commonwealth is defined in the Constitution, i.e. the
things it has control of are explicitly laid out there - everything
else is left to the states. Usually when the Commonwealth wants to
take over some function from the states it usually uses its "external
affairs" powers.  This gives it considerable leeway. If the
Commonwealth has signed an "external treaty", for instance a UN
agreement to protect "world heritage wilderness" it can then force the
States to comply (that's how the Commonwealth forces states to stop
the Franklin Dam, for instance, where Land Management is left to the

The main parties are the Labor Party, the Liberal Party (who are
actually conservatives) and the National Party (formerly the Country
party) who represent mainly rural electorates and are also
conservative. The Liberal and National parties usually form some sort
of coalition.

Each state has a House of Representatives (the lower house)
and all except Qld have an upper house. The leader of each State
government is called the Premier, and is the leader of the party
with a majority in the lower house.

[MJ] The lower house in a state is usually called the Legislative 
Assembly (not HoR).  The upper house is generally called the Legislative
Council.  I think the titles may be different in South Australia (?)

[FC] The constitution, along with a lot of other info about Australia, is
available on WWW at:

8.2 Voting System 

* How to Vote

Each Australian citizen should be registered on the electoral rolls at
the age of 18.  Voting in Australia is compulsory. In practice, this
means that you have to go to a voting station, receive voting papers
and get your name ticked off. You do not have to cast a valid vote.
Typically "informal" votes range from 5-10% of the vote.

People who were granted permanent resident status and were enrolled to
vote before 1984 may continue to do so. Those who neglected to enroll
to vote before 1984 cannot vote regardless of when they're permanent
residency was granted, unless they become citizens.

Votes usually cast their vote at a local polling station in their
electorate. If you are not in your electorate on the day of the vote,
you can go to any polling station and cast an "absentee" vote. If you
do not think you will be able to go to a polling station on the day,
you can cast a postal vote earlier.

To cast a postal vote overseas, write to the nearest embassy or
consulate, or call them.  They will send you a form to fill in (which
has to be witnessed by an Australian citizen). They then send you the
postal vote slip, which you have to return by a date usually before
the election.

[SW] You can have yourself removed from the electoral rolls if you
intend to leave the country for in excess of 3 years.

* Electoral Structure and Voting System.

[I got several good summaries, so I've included them all for the
moment. The next FAQ maintainer might like to compress them. AN]

[PD, AN]

Australia is divided into 147 federal electorates. Each electorates
elects a member to the House of Representatives.  The voting system is
compulsory preferential voting.  "Preferential Voting System" is used
in all Lower Houses in Australia except Tasmania. Also used in the
Upper House (Legislative Council I think) in Victoria (whose upper
house is made of "super- electorates") Historically, it was brought in
(there is a little supposition here) because at the time of Federation,
Conservative politic was divided into two Parties; Free Traders and
Protectionists while the Left was only the Labour Party. The
Conservatives didn't want what occurs to the left in England now to
affect them; namely with a First past the post system, Labour could
have won office with, say, 40% of the vote.

Anyway, the philosophy behind it is that the most preferred candidate
is elected. (Or more precisely the least preferred candidate is not
elected!) When voting the elector must number all candidates from most
preferred to least preferred (ie say 1-4 for four candidates), i.e.  not
put a cross next the name in a first past the post system.  Primary
votes are counted, i.e.  who got no 1. If there is not an absolute
majority of votes for some candidate (winner outright), then candidate
with least votes has their preferences distributed. To do this votes
of least popular candidate ONLY, are given in full to voters' 2nd
preference. If there is still not an absolute majority then 2nd least
popular candidate's next preferences are redistributed.  In the worst
case, no candidate will get over 50% until there are only 2 candidates
remaining, by which stage there must be a winner.  If there is a draw
between 2 candidates at the end (50% each) the winner is drawn "out of
the hat."

Example: round 1 (first preferences) (100 votes)
      Fred    35 <- less than 50% Must distribute preferences
      Jane    30
      Paul    25
      Bronie  10 <- least votes; eliminated; goto no 2's on
      		    on ballot; Paul 7; Fred 2; Jane 1

      Round 2
      Fred 	35+2 = 37
      Jane	30+1 = 31 <- eliminated because of fewest votes
      Paul	25+7 = 32
      		preferences (note if someone had Jane 1, Bronie 2, then
you would look at who they had 3!) Fred 12; Paul 19

      Round 3
      Fred	35+2+12=49
      Paul	25+7+19=51 <- Paul elected (This example shows why
      		how the preferences are distributed and why the 
      		political parties have scrutineers watching the vote
      		counting (ie to count how many preferences))

Most states have optional preferential voting, which is the same as
compulsory preferential except that if preferences are not marked then
those votes are eliminated from the count.

The federal Senate is elected with a proportional representation (PR)
voting system.  Until the mid 80s, on the Senate ballot paper, the
electors had to fill out all boxes (usually of the order of 50 in
Victoria). Of course this led to a high incidence of invalid votes.
Since then, they changed the law so that the names of the political
affiliations of the candidates could be placed on all ballots papers.
(Previously, once you entered the polling booth, if you didn't know
who represented what, you had to guess.) This law enabled a
simplification of the Senate Ballot. Now, you have a choice; filling
in all 50+ boxes; or filling in one (and only one) box which signifies
a particular party (and not candidate). Then the preferences are
distributed as predetermined by the party. (They must inform voters
before the election how they will distribute their preferences!)

The idea of the proportional representation system is that the
candidates represent an equal cross-section of both the community and
the country (hence 6 Senators in each state per election no matter
what the population is; this was a compromise made to the smaller
states at Federation as they feared (probably quite rightly) that
they'd be "crushed" by Victoria and New South Wales.)  Anyway the
system means that there is a "quota" of votes required to elect a
candidate. This quota is determined by the following formula

Total number of Votes/(no of positions +1) +1 = Quota.
                                                ---- (and rounded down)

Eg 100 votes, 6 seats -> 100/(6+1) + 1 = 15.3 Quota 15 votes.  (Note
that if 6 candidates get 15 votes, a seventh candidate can only get
10. (It works better with bigger numbers)

Now the counting of votes works in part as with the preferential
system (ie lowest candidate eliminated and preferences distributed),
but there is a twist. If a candidate gets above the quota (ie quota
20; Jane get 25 votes, then her preferences are ALL distributed at a
reduced values (to the total of 5 votes) according to the formula

(Candidate Votes-Quota)/Candidate votes = Value of preferences
(25-20)/25 = 0.2

As you can see this makes for a hell of a lot of difficulty and is why
while HofR results are known quickly, Senate votes take of the order
of a month or more to be determined!

* State Systems

All the states except for Tassie use single member electorates for the
lower houses. Tasmania has 6 multimember electorates, same system as
the senate.

The upper houses in the States (except for Qld which doesn't have one)
are mainly single member electorates, universal sufferage, but it had
been property franchise up to 60's or 70's in some states.  Upper
house electorates in some states still vary in number of electors by
huge margins in some states notably WA. Conservative upper house
gerrymander is very severe. There are as many systems in detail as
states. There is part of the house based on electorates and part on PR
in NSW [confirm? AN].

Australia's Different Voting Systems [JL]

What is preferential voting?

The aim of a representative electoral system is to elect people who 
represent their constituency. It is simple, intuitive almost, to see that
where you are trying to elect one person, that person should have the
support of over 50% of their constituents before they can claim to reflect
the views of their constituency.

There are two practical problems which this creates. Firstly, how do you
guarantee one person will end up with over 50% of the votes if more than
two people are standing? Secondly, is it fair, that in a worst case
scenario, with a close vote, that nearly 50% of constituents will be

Answer 1 - Exhaustive Preferential Voting

OK, we have one person to be elected, and more than two candidates.
The quota (the number of votes needed to be elected) is 1/2 plus 1, ie
50% plus one. This quota is commonly called a majority.

In exhaustive preferential voting, squares are placed next to the
names of each candidate. Constituents number these squares in order of
their choice. "1" goes against the person you most want, "2" against
the next person, and so on down the ballot paper.

After voting, all the ballot papers are sorted according to the number
"1" votes, and the papers are counted. If no-one has a majority (ie
has attained the quota) then the person who has the lowest number of
papers is removed from the ballot, and that person's papers a
distributed to the candidate of next choice (at this stage the number
"2" votes) and the results are tallied again.  This process of
deleting the lowest, continues until a candidate finally gains a
majority. That candidate is then declared elected. In this way is is
ensured that there will always be one candidate with a majority.

Answer 2 - Proportional Representation

There are different forms of proportional representation around. The
most rigorous (and therefore most accurate in terms of reflecting the
constituents) is Hare-Clark, which is used in Tasmania, ACT, (and, I
think Eire?). Another name for PR is Quota Preferential. The
differences between these forms are minor in procedure, but major in

First, let's look at this conceptually. Remember that what we are
trying to do is select people who can represent their constituents, ie
the chamber of parliament being elected should reflect the diversity
of views in the constituencies.

In a single member system, the worst case is that 1/2 - 1 voters did
not want the elected person. Remember, 1/2 + 1 to get elected. If two
people were to be elected we can't have a quota of 1/2 + 1 to get
elected, because there aren't enough votes; if there are two to be
elected then they should represent at least a third of the
constituents. That is, the quota becomes 1/3 + 1. Similarly, if three
are to be elected, the quota is 1/4 + 1. The interesting thing, and
this is why there are multi member constituencies, is that the more
members you have representing a constituency, the fewer people are un
represented. This is easier to see in a table. Remember this is a
worst case scenario

No elected	quota  		total people electing 	total unrepresented
1		1/2 + 1		1/2 + 1			1/2 - 1
2		1/3 + 1		2/3 + 2			1/3 - 2
3		1/4 + 1		3/4 + 3			1/4 - 3
4		1/5 + 1		4/5 + 4			1/5 - 4

So that deals with the "why" of multi member constituencies. The next
thing to deal with is the "how".

Single user constituencies are easy. Enter your choices, and only one
person can get a quota. In a multi member constituency, what if one
candidate gets, for example, two quotas?  If we had a "real time"
voting scenario, then people could simply punch in their choice, and
when that person got to the quota, they would be taken off the list of
available choices. For various reasons, including ensuring a secret
ballot, that is impractical, so the following algorithm is used.

1  Sort and count the papers according to first choice.
2a If one or more persons is elected, take the one with the highest
   vote, distribute their surplus (see below). Go to 2a.
2b If no one is elected, cut up the papers for the lowest count
   candidate at full value and distribute according to next available
   choice. Go to 2a.
3  Finish.

What, I hear you cry, is a surplus? The surplus is the number of votes
in excess of a quota, so if the quota is 300, and a candidate has 500,
their surplus is 200. Now, it's here that Hare-Clark differs from the
senate. In the senate, they will select 200 of the 500 papers, at
random, and distribute them to the remaining candidates according to
the next available choice after the candidate being cut up.

In Hare-Clark, each paper is given a transfer value according to the
surplus - in our example we have 500 papers worth a surplus of 200,
therefore each paper is given a value of 200/500 or .4 of a vote and
all papers are distributed to the remaining candidates according to
the next available choice after the candidate being cut up.

It's just two different approaches to the distribution of the surplus.
They are both statistical manipulations, but I personally believe that
it only requires a moment's thought to see that Hare-Clark has more
reproducable results.

It is not an empty claim by Hare-Clark proponents, that Hare-Clark
changes "one person, one vote" into "one person, one effective vote".

Proportional Representation and Political Parties

I am from Tasmania, the home of Hare-Clark. In addition to having
arguably the fairest method of counting, several different ballot
papers are printed, with the candidate's names rotated on the ballot
papers, so that the "donkey" vote does not work in favour of any one
party or individual. Candidates can be grouped on the ballot paper by

One of the more interesting things which I have seen over the years
while scrutineering at various elections and analysing results has
been the effect of multimember constituencies on political parties. If
you think about it, it is possible to have a major spill of elected
politicians, without changing the party which is in power. This has
happened more than once. Recently, the person who precipitated a
change of leadership within a particular political party was not
elected, even though the party was came to power.

It has also spelt the end of imposed candidates. Political parties
have a harder time, in fact an almost impossible task, to win all
seats in a multimember constituency. They are forced to present a
range of candidates, to maximise their vote. It is not always their
number one choice who is elected. Political parties see this as voters
being capricious, but, hopefully, they are comparing realities.

The how-to-vote card is dead. They do not work. The only way this
survives in any form is in the senate vote-by-party option.

A final interesting note. One candidate I knew, campaigned on the
basis of asking for the number 2 vote. His line was, look I'm not
going to insult your intelligence by telling you not to vote for the
person you want to, but consider me for number 2. Umm, he did not get
elected, but if he'd not been carrying some personal handicaps, I
think it would have been a very effective pitch.


The Australian Senate is Australia's Upper House, which serves a
similar function to Britain's House of Lords. Senators are elected by
Australian citizens on a State-by-State basis; that is, each State can
be considered as a separate electorate returning separate candidates.
The Northern and Australian Capital Territories each return two
senators, while the States return senators in proportion to their

The ballot cast by voters is in two sections. One section allows
voters to vote preferentially for their choice of candidate - that is,
to place a 1 next to the name of the candidate whom they most prefer;
a 2 next to the name of the candidate they rank second; and so forth.
The other section lets them tick the name of a political party, in
which case their preferences are allocate according to the wishes of
that party. This is easier, and most people do this.

The method of voting is as follows: Each vote is given a starting
value of 1. The number of votes cast is divided by the number of
candidates to be returned plus one, and one is added to the dividend.
This is called the *quota*.

Example: if there are 100 voters and 3 positions to fill, the quota
would be (100 / (3 + 1)) + 1 = 26. If you think about it, if three
candidates have each received 26 out of 100 votes they will certainly
have more votes than any other candidate.

If no candidates have received enough votes to fill a quota, the
candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated from the election and
his or her votes redistributed to the next person on the ballot papers
- that is, to the person the voter has nominated as his or her second
choice. This continues until at least one candidate has achieved a

When at least one candidate has achieved the quota, we calculate the
number of votes that the most successful candidate has received in excess
of the quota. This number, divided by the quota, is the *transferrable
value* of that vote, and all votes cast for the candidate are
redistributed with that value to the next person on the ballot papers.

Example: Mr Smith receives 39 first preference votes. As above, he
only needed 26 to be elected. He is declared elected, and the votes
cast for him are redistributed to other candidates with a value of 
(39 - 26) / 39 = 1/3. That is, two-thirds of their "power" has been used
up in electing Mr Smith.

We now see if any other candidates have achieved the quota. If so,
they are elected and their votes transferred as above. If not, we
eliminate candidates until one has achieved a quota and continue as

It's complicated to explain, but simple (albeit slow) in operation. It
is tends to result in a Senate evenly divided between the two major
parties, with a few Independents and minor party senators holding the
balance of power. As such, it more nearly reflects the voting pattern
of the populace than any system of which I know.

8.3 Current governments

The current Prime Minister is John Howard, and we have a Liberal
government. They have been in power since March 4, 1996 The current
leader of the Labor party is Mr Beezley who replaced Paul Keating
after Labor lost the election.. The current leader of the National
Party is Tim Fischer.

The most recent federal election was held on March 2nd, 1996. The
Labor Party, lead by Paul Keating were beaten by the John Howard
led Liberals.

State Governments (Length of Term 4 years, except Qld 3 years))

State		Party 	Premier		Election due by
Vic.		Lib/Nat	Jeff Kennett	Mar 2000
NSW		labor   Bob Carr        27 March 1999 **
Qld		Labor	Wayne Goss	Mid 1998
SA		Lib/Nat	Dean Brown     	late 1997
WA		Lib/Nat	Richard Court	Feb 1996
Tas.		Lib     Ray Groom       late 1995
NT              Cnt/Lib Marshall Perron June 1998

**NSW now has fixed 4 year parliamentary terms, with elections to    
be held on the last Saturday in March every four years from 1995.  An 
election my be held earlier if a motion of no confidence is
passed in a Government and no new Government can be formed on the
floor of the Parliament.

8.4 Taxation

* Total taxation

Comparison of all forms of taxation, with source December 1993 issue
of the Economist. [TvR]

	 USA                27%
	 Switzerland        32%
	 Germany            39%
	 Italy              31%
	 Australia          27%
highest  Sweden             50%
lowest   Bahamas             5%

* Personal income tax

Here is a table of the most recent figures for Australia's personal income
tax rates.

Part of Your Income             Tax
      ($)             (cents in the dollar)
0       to 5400                 0
5401    to 20700                20
20701   to 38000                34
38001   to 50000                43
50001   & over                  47

(plus 1.4 cents in the dollar for MediCare levy)

Tax is taken out of each pay-packet you receive by your employer.
(You are called a PAYE taxpayer - Pay As You Earn).

Example: Suppose that you earn $44,000 a year. Income tax + medicare
levy is (20700-5401)*0.2 + (38000-20701)*.34 + (44000-38001)*.43 +
44000*.014 = 3059.8 + 5881.66 + 2579.57 + 616 = 11520.83 + 616 =

[AN: Need to check that medicare is over the whole amount]

* Corporate taxation [JB]

Corporate tax is 33%. Australia has an almost unique system whereby
company income is *NOT* taxed again if it is passed on the
shareholders as dividends.  The system, known as "dividend imputation"
works roughly like this:

If you get a dividend cheque from a company for $1,000, it will often
be accompanied by a notice saying that it is "fully franked" or
"partially franked" and that it has "imputation credits" of, say,
$500.  This means that your "share" of the company's profits were
$1,500, on which $500 company tax has already been paid.  When you do
your personal tax return, you declare income from this source of
$1,500, and the tax credit of $500.  If your marginal tax rate is less
than the company tax rate, you will, in effect, get some of the $500
back.  If your marginal rate is higher, you will have to pay some more
to make up the difference,

This system, which was introduced in 1985, did away with the previous
system wherein company profits were taxed twice. This "double
taxation" was a sore point with business for decades. Dividend
imputation was brought in by that arch-fiend, Paul Keating, which is
conveniently forgotten by people who want to paint him as a socialist

* Indirect taxes [DlC]

Compared to many western countries, particularly those with general
Goods and Services Taxes (GSTs or VATs), Australia does not have much
sales tax.  The biggest source of government revenue is Income Tax.
Australia and the US share the place for having the lowest taxation as
a percentage of GDP of any major Western economies (27%).  Yet despite
this we have one of the highest rates of personal income tax.  The
main reason is the low rate (overall) of sales tax and "shock horror"
customs duties.

But unlike many western countries the rates that sales tax is charged,
in Australia, varies substantially.  Less than 50% of all goods and
services (in dollar values) do not have any sales tax at all.  For
example food, health, rent, education, power, water, are all exempt.
Ie those items deemed essential.  Where tax is levied, it is levied,
at least officially, by the Federal Government (I'll return to this).
Most goods (no services are taxed) are taxed at 21%.  I've read that
the figure is something like 80% of goods which are taxed are taxed at
this rate.

Some goods are taxed at higher rates for a range of reasons.  For
example the taxes on cigarettes are very high, supposedly for health
reasons.  I don't know what the rate is, but I suspect it is much
higher than 37%.  Some items which are taxed at levels higher than 21%
include luxury cars (cars whose purchase price exceeds $A45,000),
expensive liquors, and beer (wine is only 15% but it will move to 25%
- was that the eventual compromise?), petrol, luxury boats.  In each
case there is an official motive, eg it is considered a good idea by
many to make petrol expensive, to encourage people to use public
transport.  Can anyone explain to me why wine should be taxed less
than beer, is it because the middle class (ie Democrat, Liberal and
Green voters) drink the former and the working class drink the latter?
[How's that for flame bait?]

The number of items that have sales tax is always growing, and there
has been a slow consolidation of the various rates into a general rate
of 21%.  In the early 80s our current prime minister was treasurer and
he attempted to introduce an across the board goods(not services)tax.
Many people have quipped that over the last 10 years the Prime
Minister has achieved his original aim by stealth.  This attempt was
unsuccessful.  The opposition, who recently proposed, unsuccessfully, a
GST, rolled the governments original proposal by bringing out a legion
of people to say, "You mean my cornflakes will go up by $0.50.....".
Needless to say the same tactics were then employed by the current
government to roll the opposition.  Quid pro quo?

[JB] Vary widely, ranging from about 70% on petrol to 0% on most foodstuffs,
books, clothing, etc. Averages about 5% across all purchases.

* State taxes

There are no state income taxes. The States receive the bulk of their
revenue from distribution of general federal revenue according to a
"formula". [What is this formula?]. Traditionally NSW and Vic have
received less per capita than the other states. State governments are
limited in what they can do to raise state taxes: cigarette and
alcohol, payroll tax, death duties, ???. Charges for state services
and fees such as gas and electricity, motor registration. Victoria
currently has a $100 tax levied per "rate-able property", excluding
property used for primary production.

The State governments provide primary and secondary education.  The
Federal Government pays totally for tertiary education, using a
technique known as "tied grants" to the states. The money appears
briefly in the State budgets, but cannot be put to any other use.[JB]

The State government has no role in the provision of non-hospital
health services. This is done independently by doctors. The State
governments do provide the "public" hospital services, but also under
a complicated funding system with the Federal government. [JB]

* Local taxes

Local city councils or shire councils in the country, raise money
through rates, basically property taxes on houses/land. 

8.5 The Independence Debate

1992. The Australian Republican Movement is a non-political
organisation committed to achieving independence by 2001, our
centenary.  Ordinary membership is $40.  Student/concession membership
is $12 per year and family membership is $60 per year.

They can be contacted at:

	Australian Republican Movement
	GPO Box 5150
	Sydney, NSW 2001
	(02) 234 4726

        Fax (02) 223 5180
        Freecall membership line 1800 80 2000.

The Australian Republican Movement has an official World Wide Web site at:

This site provides detailed information about the ARM, analysis of
issues in the republic debate, and draft republican constitutions.

"The Reluctant Republic"	
by Malcolm Turnbull, with an introduction by Robert Hughes
	William Heinemann Australia
	22 Salmon Street
	Port Melbourne VIC 3207
ISBN 0 85561 372 6
Year: 1993

Malcolm Turnbull is Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement and
was Chairman of the Prime Minister's Republic Advisory Committee.

[MJ] I think we have already received independence, although you can't put
a date on it.  I'd rather call it a 'republican' debate.

8.6 Mabo

The High Court, in the "Mabo" decision, eliminated the previous terra
nullius principle of land ownership in Australia, and stated that
there was a Common Law ownership by the indigenous people, unless that
title had been extinguished by a valid Act of the imperial. colonial,
state, commonwealth or territorial parliaments. They also said that
common law ownership depended on a demonstrated continues link between
the people and that land.  [JB]

Native title is NOT freehold title, for instance, the land cannot be
sold, but according to commonwealth law, can be converted into
freehold title if the owners so desire. [Scot]

8.7 Health Care [JM]

8.7.1 Medicare 

Medicare is a universal medical insurance scheme run by the Federal
Government covering all Australian citizens and permanent residents.
The Medicare scheme covers all Australian citizens and permanent
residents, and provides "basic" medical cover.  This comprises:

- 85% of the "Schedule Fee" for services provided by GP's and medical

- Treatment in a public hospital in a "public" standard ward.

Those who are eligible have a Medicare Card with a name and number on

Foreign visitors are also covered if there is a reciprocal arrangement
between Australia and their country.  This is most likely to exist
where the other country also has a public health system akin to
Medicare.  For example, an agreement exists with the UK (which has the
National Health) but not the USA.

Overall, the level of care provided by Medicare is excellent.
Aboriginal health in rural areas is sometimes, however, quite
shocking. The Govt looks like it will finally do something about this
(Sen. Richardson, the Health Minister, is on a crusade, which was
surprising provoked by the new AMA head). [Scot]

8.7.2 Medicare Levy

The Medicare Levy is a payment levied on all Australian taxpayers in
order to pay for the Medicare scheme.  The levy is currently 1.4% of
taxable income.

8.7.3 Doctors

Doctors in Australia are generally private practitioners and charge a
fee for each service they provide, or medical procedure performed.

In Australia students choose to study medicine when they leave high
school. Medicine is one of the most competitive courses to get into.
The first 3 years are pre-clinical course work undertaken at the
university (i.e. chemistry, physics, biochemistry, anatomy,
pharmacology, etc).  The 4th to 6th years are clinical training.
Typically students are attached to one hospital, and do rotations
through the major medical disciplines. In their final year students
can choose to spend time at another institution (which may be
overseas) in any specialty they like. At the end of their 6 years,
they take their final exams. After that, they have to do at least a
year's residency before they are qualified to practice. More
residencies and qualifications are needed for any specialty, and
further qualifications are needed even to become a GP. [AN]

* Overseas doctors working in Australia [PW]

To practice medicine in oz you need to be registered with the state
medical council (whatever it's called).  You can do this in a number
of ways: (1) Do (and pass :-) a medical course in an ozzie or kiwi
uni, (2) Do medicine at a recognised+ overseas uni and then pass the
medical council's exam (about equivalent to ozzie finals), (3) Have a
degree from one of these medical schools, have obtained fellowship of
one of the specialist medical colleges and have >3 years specialist
experience (ie, be the equivalent of an ozzie consultant).  You might
also have to do an english exam if it isn't your first language.

+ a list of recognised universities and appropriate qualifications
will be supplied by the medical council, I think they include most UK,
Ireland and main USA medical schools.  If you didn't go to one of
these places then see method (1).

Note: Until 18 months ago the different states had different
requirements for registration of foreign medics; NSW was as described
above.  However, they then standardised to the NSW system to make the
states consistently strict (with the previous system, you could
register in Queensland and a transfer to NSW).

8.7.4 Fees (What you Pay at the Doctor)

Generally, patients are charged by doctors on the basis of the
"Schedule Fee".  This refers to a schedule of standard fees for
medical procedures and services.

The Schedule Fee was originally a standard fee set by the doctors
professional organisation (the Australian Medical Association - AMA)
however in recent years (particularly as the influence of the AMA has
declined) it has come to be set by agreement amongst the State and
Federal Government.

The exact amount a particular patient will be charged is based on the
Schedule Fee, but could be modified by one or more of the following

- Does the doctor "bulk bill"

In this case, the patient pays nothing.

Since the introduction of Medicare in 1975, many doctors have moved to
"bulk billing".  This is a procedure where the doctor bills the
Medicare scheme directly rather than the patient.  The downside (for
the doctor) is that they only get the Medicare payment of 85% of the
schedule fee.  The term "bulk" is used because the doctor can simply
issue a single invoice at the end of the month, rather than separately
billing every patient.

If the doctor *doesn't* bulk bill, the patient would pay the bill and
then seek reimbursement from Medicare.

- Is the patient privately insured

In this case the patient will generally pay according to his or her
insurance cover.  This differs from policy to policy but is usually
nothing, unless the doctor charges more than the schedule fee (see

However, the *doctor* in this case, gets paid the full Schedule Fee,
and a bill is issued to the patient.  The patient would then pay the
bill and seek reimbursement for 85% of the fee from Medicare and the
rest from the insurer.  (Although most insurers have a deal with
Medicare so their clients need only make a claim through them rather
than stand in two queues.)

- Does the doctor charge *more* than the schedule fee?

Some doctors (whether through ability, reputation, or greed) charge
more than the schedule fee.  In this case, all patients pay the doctor
direct and seek reimbursement from Medicare or their insurer.

Typically, the patient is out of pocket to the extent to which the
doctor charges above the schedule fee.

- patients without private insurance usually go to bulk billing doctors
  and pay nothing.
- patients with private insurance pay up front and get the money back
  (but often not all of it) from their insurer.

(An aside.  The scheme above has placed economic pressure on doctors
over the last 20 years, and many doctors now work in modern 24 hour/7
day clinics which bulk bill and treat both insured and uninsured
patients.  Such clinics have proved to be very profitable and efficient
and now appear in even the "best" suburbs.)

8.7.5 Public Hospitals

The Australian hospital system has two sectors, the first is public
and is run by the State governments, the second is private (see
below).  The public system treats the whole range of conditions
including trauma and serious, (unlike the private system).

Funding for public hospitals is provided by State Governments. 

Some public hospitals run private "annexes" for services such as
maternity.  These are profit making enterprises attached to the larger
public hospital.

From the patients point of view, you can attend a public hospital in one
of four ways:
  - Outpatient
  - Public ward		Generally about 8 beds to a ward
  - Intermediate ward	Between 4 and 6 beds to a ward
  - Private ward	Generally 2 beds to a ward, but sometimes only 1.

(Private insurance is required for treatment in an Intermediate or
Private ward.)

Patients are generally treated by registrars and salaried doctors in
the public system, however, many private practitioners serve for several
hours a week in public hospitals.  (For this work, they are paid
according to the Schedule Fee, so there is usually no financial loss.
However, some good specialists who are generally able to charge in
excess of the Schedule Fee *do* end up losing somewhat.)

There is an important issue concerning private health insurance and
emergency hospital admission. If you are admitted to a public hospital
in an emergency and have private health insurance, you will be
admitted as a private patient and end up with a surprising bill.  It
happens because, the so-called "public" patient is bulk-billed and
therefore accrues debts at 85% of the Schedule Fee.  Since Medicare
covers all of this, there is nothing left to pay.  However, "private"
patients are charged 100% of the Schedule Fee, but private insurance
typically only matches medicare by providing 85% coverage.  The
patient pays the balance. [JM]

8.7.6 Private Hospitals

Private hospitals are profit making entities (typically owned by a
syndicate of doctors, but sometimes by civic organisations or
insurance companies.)  They provide a range of routine surgical and
convalescent care, generally leaving more serious conditions to the
public hospitals in order to reduce their need for expensive capital
equipment.  (Although, there are exceptions to this. For example, many
private hospitals have found CAT and MRI scanning to be very

From a patients point of view, private hospitals provide only
Intermediate and Private ward care.

8.7.7 Aged Care

(to be completed)

8.7.8 Skin Cancer 

[MJ] To provide some (useful) information.  The Antarctic ozone hole
does not in general affect Australia, we are too close to the equator.
Last summer (1992/93?) a small part of the outer edge did pass over
Tasmania and Victoria but lasted only for a couple of days and did not
cause particularly high levels of uv radiation at the ground.
Australians have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world
probably due to the combination of culture and having summer when the
earth is closest to the sun.  Bring a hat, sunscreen and shirt.  Don't
"bake" at all, but if you insist on being brown, authorities suggest
avoiding the strongest sunlight between 1100 and 1500 (summer time).

There was a big campaign against skin cancer: "Slip slop slap".  It had
a cute little cartoon animal as the star of the commercial, a seagull,
whose "s's" were came out as a kind of cross between Donald Duck and
Sylvester the Cat.

The jingle went:

"Slip! Slop! Slap!
Slip on a shirt slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat!
Slip! Slop! Slap! (da-da)
In the sun this summer say,

There is an Ozone FAQ on sci.environment which is more likely to be
correct than what gets periodically posted on s.c.a.!

8.7.9 Miscellaneous

8.8 Economic Information

* Comparative GDP etc [TvR]

Some time ago there was a debate on s.c.a about GDP at purchasing
power per head expressed in US $ ...  the Economist has compiled a
list in its christmas issue .  to set the records straight a lot of
countries that would be high on the list Norway, Denmark, Netherlands,
Belgium are not included in the sample..  here are some of the data.
            GDP per  Pollution Cars Second Doctors Murders
            head at  CO2 per   per  school  per      per
            $PPP     head      1000 rate % 100.000 100.000
USA         22300     19.7     589   92      238     13.3
Switzerland 21780      5.9     447   85      159      1.4
Germany     19770     10.5     490   97      270      1.0
Japan       19390      8.5     285   96      164      0.7
Canada      19320     17.3     473   99      222      2.5
Hong-Kong   18520      7.0      29   90       93      1.7
France      18430      6.4     418   99      286      1.3
Sweden      17490      7.0     419   91      270      1.7
Italy       17040      6.8     459   79      476      3.6
Australia   16680     15.5     435   83      229      2.7
Britain     16340      9.9     403   84      164      1.0
New Zealand 13970      7.8     455   89      174      3.4
Spain       12670      5.2     308   90      357      1.2

* Exports [KH]

Total exports:   Oz              US        

bn USD           42.2            422
total in USD     62%               9%
primary as
% GDP            22.3            11.2

Primary production:

Product          Amount (M tonnes)         Major world markets (decreasing 
                 & producer ranking        order by purchases in USD)

Coal             206(7)          944(2)   China,US,ex-SU,Ger
Wheat            10.7(9)         53.9(5)  China,ex-SU,EC,Ind
Sugar            3.2(10)         6.6(7)   EC,ex-SU,Ind,US
Aluminium        1.22(4)         4.12(1)  US,Jap,Ger,ex-SU
Wool             0.88(1)         -        China,ex-SU,Italy,Jap
Cotton           0.50(8)         3.84(2)  China,US,Ind,ex-SU
Nickel           0.69(4)         -        Jap,US,ex-SU,Ger
Lead             0.58(1)         0.48(2)  US,ex-SU,Jap,Ger
Copper           0.32(8)         1.63(2)  US,Jap,Ger,ex-SU
Gold             0.24(3)         0.29(2)  Mex,US,Peru,Canada

Figures are for 1992 according to various tables found in "The Economist".

* Wages, poverty level, homelessness [KH]

I recently claimed the "basic wage" in Oz was $16 per hour.  (This, of
course, applies to the counter staff here at LaTrobe.)  This is not
exactly correct. With recent changes (five years or so) to industrial
relations there is no real set minimum for full-time employees.
However, the following figures are authoritative (ABS and ATO for end
1992) if a little old:

Of the 7.8 million taxpayers known to the ATO ;-)

   Number  taxable income 1992
   or pct.

   1200    >500K
   1%      80-100K
   6.3%    50-80K
   46.1%   21-50K
   46.6%   <21K

The weighted average of these is 27.1K ($14.89 per hour); the
approximate median is 23.5K ($12.91 per hour).  These figures may or
may not be accurate. According to the ABS only 5.05m people in
Australia claim NOT to be in the workforce (i.e. 71% of the

The claimed average work hours are 35.3 per week; for full-time
workers 41.1 hours per week; for part-time workers 15.3 per week.
From this we can calculate the approximate fraction of the workforce
in full-time employment is 75%.

More recent figures from the start of this year put the perceived cost
of living at about $460 per week for an average family ($13 per hour)
and the average salary at $660 per week ($18.85 per hour).  According
to the DSS the poverty level in Australia was set at about $255 per
week ($7.28 per hour) at end of 1992 (this is CPI indexed).  An
average family with no other means of support is eligible for a total
weekly payment of $352.85 ($10 per hour). Pensions for single persons
are less.

At the end of 1991 the DSS had a total number of 8065 persons
registered for the "Homeless Benefit". During 1992 all but 1902 were
(mostly) re-classified under "Job Search/New Start".  The 1902 were
thereafter allocated a "Special Benefit Allowance" that is intended
for "those people unable to support themselves or their dependents &
who are otherwise not entitled to a pension or other benefit". Many of
these recipients also receive additional rent or child support
payments.  It was estimated a further 1000 persons during 1993 had no
support whatever (although they are legally entitled to it) and were
living on the streets.

The legal minimum wage in the US at end of 1992 was $3.50 US per hour
for full-time employees. There was no set minimum (in my
understanding) for part-time or casual work.  The estimated number of
homeless persons in year 1993 in the US (i.e. without work and no form
of official benefit) was about 1.6 million.

| | | | | |   Stephen Wales               | Internet:
|M|I|N|C|O|M  Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.    | No employer opinion included

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