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1916 the Labour Government

  • Date Submitted: 08/09/2012 05:36 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.4 
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In the year of 1916 the labor government introduced conscription. Conscription was a method of convincing men to compulsory enrollment into the armed forces. Conscription created great division in Australia during 1916-1917. Before introducing conscription it was a significant issue in Australia between the years of 1914. This was due to the fact that there were different people on both sides of the issue who were and weren’t in support for conscription. Most countries such as Britain fought with a conscripted army of men besides Australia who heavily relied on voluntary enlistment. 

During World War I (1914-1918) conscription was a big issue in Australia. Labor prime minister of Australia, Billy Hughes, attempted to enforce full conscription, for men aged 21 years and over. This meant that in world war one, all men in that age group must fight in the war. Two referendums were held, both voting no. The first referendum was held on 28th October 1916, and narrowly rejected conscription, with 49% for conscription and 51% against. The referendum in question asked: Are you in favor of the Government having, in this grave emergency, the same compulsory powers over citizens in regard to requiring their military service, for the term of this War, outside the Commonwealth, as it now has in regard to military service within the Commonwealth?
On 20th December 1917, a second referendum was held, asking the question "Are you in favor of the proposal of the Commonwealth Government for reinforcing the Commonwealth Forces overseas?”   This was defeated by an even greater margin.
This was most likely since Britain and New Zealand had introduced conscription earlier in the year. He also thought with the purpose of conscription it would make it easier for Australia to fight against Germany, therefore it could possibly stop Germany from invading Australia. An additional reason to enforce conscription was that the number of individuals willing to join with the army were dropping,...


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