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Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand

by Jatinder Mann (Author)
Monographs XVI, 188 Pages

Table Of Content


Jatinder Mann

Redefining Citizenship
in Australia, Canada,
and Aotearoa New Zealand

About the author

Jatinder Mann is Assistant Professor of History at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is the editor of Citizenship in Transnational Perspective: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and author of The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s.

About the book

Adopting a political and legal perspective, Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand undertakes a transnational study that examines the demise of Britishness as a defining feature of the conceptualisation of citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand and the impact that this historic shift has had on Indigenous and other ethnic groups in these states. During the 1950s and 1970s an ethnically based citizenship was transformed into a civic-based one (one based on rights and responsibilities). The major context in which this took place was the demise of British race patriotism in Australia, English-speaking Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. Although the timing of this shift varied, Aboriginal groups and non-British ethnic groups were now incorporated, or appeared to be incorporated, into ideas of citizenship in all three nations. The development of citizenship in this period has traditionally been associated with immigration in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. However, the historical origins of citizenship practices in all three countries have yet to be fully analysed. This is what Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand does. The overarching question addressed by the book is: Why and how did the end of the British World lead to the redefinition of citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand between the 1950s and 1970s in regard to other ethnic and Indigenous groups? This book will be useful for history and politics courses, as well as specialised courses on citizenship and Indigenous studies.

Advance Praise for

Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand

“The diverse array of citizens of settler colonizer nations need to know their full story. This clearly written and courageously comparative history demonstrates how at the end of the British world, three nation-states redefined citizenship from a concept based upon race, status, and links to Britain to one based upon civic rights and responsibilities. This meticulously researched book will be a must-read for scholars interested in national identity, political and legal history, and the history of indigenous resistance.”

—Ann McGrath (AM, FASSA, FAHA), Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow and W.K. Hancock Professor of History, School of History, Australian National University

“This book is a groundbreaking comparative study of Canada, Australia, and Aotearoa New Zealand and the shift from ethnic forms of British-based national identity to civic and potentially more inclusive varieties during the 1960s and 1970s. This crucial shift in identity has been inadequately studied until now. Jatinder Mann’s insightful and impeccably researched book, based on a wealth of primary sources, casts new light into the connections between national identity and citizenship in settler states. It correlates major changes in conceptions of national self and other with the rise and decline of the British imperial system. An impressive addition to the literature on citizenship studies, Indigenous peoples, and racialized peoples.”

—David B. MacDonald, Professor and Research Leadership Chair for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph

“At a time when a disunited Kingdom is engaged in an almost byzantine debate about Brexit in which some protagonists are seeking to rekindle the flames of empire, Jatinder Mann’s impressive book offers a rigorous analysis of how the relations between Britain and its closest dominions became severely weakened if not entirely severed.

Carefully examining the way citizenship was redefined in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand between the 1950s and 1970s, Mann demonstrates how changing global geopolitical relations, the strengthening of demands for indigenous people’s rights, and increasingly diverse non-British immigration patterns moved the basis of majority settler forms of national identity towards varying multicultural and bicultural frames of belonging.

This book is essential reading for students of the political history of British settler states, within and across these area studies, and will be invaluable for citizenship specialists, especially with expertise in ethnic and indigenous studies, still debating whether the British World is being revived or is irretrievably lost.”

—David Pearson, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Social and Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Acknowledgments

As with my first monograph, the writing of this book has been a journey that has taken place in different countries and continents, and I would like to thank those who have supported me throughout this venture. This book emerged out of my Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship research project at the University of Alberta (U of A) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I would like to thank Peter Lang Publishing for agreeing to publish my second monograph. In particular, I express gratitude to Meagan Simpson for commissioning the manuscript, and Jennifer Beszley and Luke McCord for seeing it through to production. I would like to thank my Research Assistant, Ken Ng for his help with putting the index of the book together. Additionally, I express my gratitude to Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) for its generous subvention, which contributed to the publication of this monograph.

An article based on parts of Chapter 1 entitled “The End of the British World and the Redefinition of Citizenship in Australia, 1950s-1970s” was published in the Chinese Journal of Australian Studies. An article based on parts of Chapter 2 entitled “The End of the British World and the Redefinition of Citizenship in Canada, 1950s-1970s” was published in the Asian Journal of Canadian Studies. An article based on parts of Chapter 3 entitled “The End of the British World and the Redefinition of Citizenship in Aotearoa New←ix | x→ Zealand, 1950s–1970s” was published in National Identities. A scholarly book chapter based on parts of Chapter 2 entitled “The Redefinition of Citizenship in Canada, 1950s-1970s” was published in Jatinder Mann (ed.), Citizenship in Transnational Perspective: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). I would like to thank the publishers of the journals and edited book for their permission to publish these sections of the book.

I owe thanks to many institutions and people for their assistance during the process leading to the completion of this manuscript. In particular, I acknowledge the U of A, the Australian National University (ANU), Carleton University, the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), King’s College London, and HKBU. I thank all my friends and colleagues in these institutions for their constant encouragement and support in the writing of this book. I would especially like to mention the School of Politics and International Relations at the ANU, the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University, and the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies at VUW, for providing me with a scholarly home and material support which enabled me to carry out the research for my three case studies.

I would also like to express my immense gratitude to Professor Janine Brodie for her considerable guidance, support, and feedback during my Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the U of A. Actually, the thanks even goes as far back as when I applied for a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (the most prestigious fellowship of its kind in Canada) and she kindly agreed to be my mentor/supervisor. My project benefitted immensely from having Janine as my mentor/supervisor, and I will forever be grateful for this.

I am thankful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada for awarding me a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, without which this book would not have been possible. I am also grateful to the Office of the Vice-President (Research) at the U of A for its extremely generous research support, which enabled me to carry out my research in Canberra, Australia, and Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Thanks are also due to the International Council for Canadian Studies for awarding me the inaugural Avi Arensen Canadian Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, which enabled me to conduct my research in Ottawa, Canada.

The staff members at Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, Library and Archives Canada, the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia, and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa were always very helpful. I would also like to thank the permission holders of the following personal papers and fonds←x | xi→ for their kind permission to consult restricted parts of them: Al Grassby Papers, Sir Billy Snedden Papers, Lester B. Pearson Fonds, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fonds, Jack Pickersgill Fonds, Richard Albert Bell Fonds, and the David Watt Ballantyne Papers.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my friends and family all across the world for your constant support and belief in me. It was not always easy writing this book, and I often had to dig deep, but your words of encouragement always helped. I hope to continue thanking you all for many more books to come.

Jatinder Mann

Hong Kong, March 2019←xi | xii→ ←xii | xiii→

Abbreviations

ALP—Australian Labor Party

EEC—European Economic Community

FCAATSI—Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders

MP—Member of Parliament

UK—United Kingdom

UN—United Nations

US—United States←xiii | xiv→ ←xiv | 1→

Introduction

Adopting a political and legal perspective, my book undertakes a transnational study that examines the demise of Britishness1 on the conceptualisation of citizenship and the impact that this historic shift has had on Indigenous and other ethnic groups in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. During the 1950s and 1970s an ethnically based citizenship was transformed into a civic-based one (based on rights and responsibilities). The major context in which this took place was the demise of British race patriotism in Australia, English-speaking Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. Although the timing of this shift varied, Aboriginal groups and non-British ethnic groups were now incorporated, or appeared to be incorporated, into ideas of citizenship in all three nations. The development of citizenship in this period has traditionally been associated with immigration in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. However, the historical origins of citizenship practices in all three countries have yet to be fully analysed. This is what my book does. The differences between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand on the one hand and Canada on the other will be particularly enlightening, as the latter contained a majority non-British population: French-Canadians and other long-standing European groups. Furthermore, the Māori population of Aotearoa New Zealand had long-standing political representation in the national parliament,←1 | 2→ which was not the case in Australia and Canada, which represents another fascinating dimension to the study. The overarching question addressed by my book is: Why and how did the end of the British World lead to the redefinition of citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand between the 1950s and 1970s in regard to other ethnic and Indigenous groups?

There has been no study of the redefinition of citizenship in terms of ethnicity and Indigeneity in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand during the 1950s and 1970s in the transnational British World perspective.2 Although Heidi Bohaker and Franca Iacovetta3 have examined migrants and First Nation groups in Canada between the 1950s and 1970s, they focused on citizenship programs (i.e., integration policy) rather than citizenship legislation, which is the subject of this book. What is more, they did not place developments with both groups in the context of the demise of Britishness, which is the most original aspect of my book. Anna Haebich,4 although looking at both migrants and Aboriginal groups, focused on assimilation policy as she described it between the 1950s and 1970s, and did not place her study in the context of the decline of British race patriotism as the basis of national identity in Australia.5

Most literature on citizenship in Australia has tended to trace its development from Australians advancing from the status of being “subjects to citizens.”6 Specifically, the majority argue that the key turning point for Australians was the British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1948. But this was not the case. As I have shown in my article on “The Evolution of Commonwealth Citizenship,” this Act was an attempt by Australia to preserve the common status of British subjects that Canada’s unilateral action of introducing its own national citizenship had jeopardised. Therefore, the Australian Act actually affirmed Australia’s Britishness.7

This book has many unique features. These include the transnational approach, which will enable the impact of a broad concept of national identity on the conceptualisation of citizenship in relation to other ethnic groups and Indigenous peoples to be explored through the experiences of three different countries. The comparisons that will be made between each will be important in themselves, but they will also bring unique characteristics or features of each country to the forefront.

My book consulted government archives, citizenship acts, naturalisation legislation, parliamentary debates, newspaper editorials, and speeches and personal papers of key figures in the period to chart the impact of the demise of Britishness on the definition of citizenship in terms of Aboriginal and other←2 | 3→ ethnic groups in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The specific archival sources I consulted included: Cabinet records, files of Foreign/External Affairs, and those of the Attorney-General Departments that deal with the formulation of legislation and its operation. The focus on these sources in all three national archives of the countries of my study enabled me to pursue a comparative examination of policy, which is one of the most unique features of the book. The book also engages with key secondary sources.8

Specifically, the book focuses on key points in the redefinition of citizenship during the period of my study in terms of other ethnic and Indigenous peoples. So, for Australia, I looked at the major citizenship legislation between the 1950s and 1970s; particularly the 1973 Australian Citizenship Act, which removed the status of British subject from Australian citizenship. Alongside studying the actual Act itself, I consulted government documents leading to its introduction;9 key personal papers of political figures that were responsible for it, such as Minister for Immigration Al Grassby;10 parliamentary debates regarding its passage; and newspaper editorials on the public reaction to the legislation. On the Indigenous side, the 1967 referendum on whether the Commonwealth government should be allowed to legislate for Aboriginal people (this had previously been the purview of state governments) and if they should be counted as a part of the national census was the key event during the 1950s and 1970s. As with the abovementioned 1973 Australian Citizenship Act, I studied the referendum itself; consulted government documents on the decision to hold it;11 looked at the personal papers of key figures involved in its adoption, such as Prime Minister Harold Holt;12 examined parliamentary debates regarding the referendum; and explored popular reaction to it, through newspaper editorials.

In the case of Canada, I focused on the major points in the redefinition of citizenship towards other ethnic and Indigenous groups between the 1950s and 1970s. The 1977 Canadian Citizenship Act was the most significant piece of legislation during this period in terms of other ethnic groups, as, similarly to the Australian Act above, it removed the status of British subject from Canadian citizenship. As with the Australian Act, I actually focused on the 1977 Canadian Citizenship Act itself; consulted government documents leading to its introduction;13 studied the personal papers of key figures responsible for its framing, such as Minister for Manpower and Immigration Bud Cullen;14 explored parliamentary debates regarding its adoption; and examined newspaper editorials for popular reaction to the proposals. On the Indigenous side, a particular highlight is the Diefenbaker government’s move in 1960 to extend←3 | 4→ the franchise to all Aboriginal people in the country. As with the above 1977 Canadian Citizenship Act, I focused on the actual legislation itself; examined key government documents leading to its introduction,15 as well as personal papers of key figures responsible for it, such as Minister of Citizenship Ellen Fairclough;16 studied parliamentary debates surrounding its adoption; and explored popular reaction to the legislation through newspaper editorials.

The Aotearoa New Zealand case study is an interesting one, as unlike Australia and Canada, the Indigenous people in its territory had political representation in the national parliament from its establishment as a nation (although it was not proportionate to their numbers in the population). However, it did have a similar experience to the two countries in terms of its citizenship legislation towards other ethnic groups. The 1977 British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act was the most important piece of legislation as it also removed the status of British subject from Aotearoa New Zealand citizenship. As with both the Australian and Canadian cases above, I focused on the actual legislation itself; consulted the government documents leading to its introduction;17 explored the personal papers of key figures responsible for it; examined the parliamentary debates surrounding its adoption; and studied newspaper editorials for the popular reaction to the proposals.

In terms of structure, the book consists of three chapters on Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand, and a fourth chapter on comparisons. Going into more detail, Chapter 1 on “Redefining Citizenship in Australia, 1950s–1970s” argues that in the 1950s, Australia very much identified itself as a British country and an integral part of a wider British World, which had the UK at its centre. However, by the 1970s, this British World had come to an end, as had Australia’s self-identification as a British nation. During this period, citizenship in Australia was redefined in a significant way from being an ethnic (British)-based one to a more civic-founded one which was more inclusive of other ethnic groups and apparently Aborigines. This chapter argues that this redefinition of citizenship took place primarily in the context of this major shift in national identity. After having established the context of the end of the British World in Australia (with a focus on the UK’s application for entry into the EEC and the British withdrawal from “East of Suez”), it explores the Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1955, the Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1960, the Citizenship Act of 1969, and the Australian Citizenship Act of 1973, to illustrate the way in which citizenship became more inclusive of other ethnic groups in the country. It then studies Aboriginal policy during the 1950s, the awarding of the right to vote to Aborigines in 1961, the←4 | 5→ 1967 constitutional referendum, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, between the 1960s and 1970s, to highlight the way in which citizenship in Australia also appeared to incorporate Aborigines at this time.

Chapter 2 on “Redefining Citizenship in Canada, 1950s–1970s” also maintains that in the 1950s, English-speaking Canada very much identified itself as a British country and an integral part of a wider British World which had the UK at its centre. Canada’s bicultural nature, with the French-Canadians, complicated this self-identity in that country. However, by the 1970s this British World had come to an end, as had Canada’s self-identification as a British nation. During this period, citizenship in Canada was redefined in a significant way from being an ethnic (British)-based one to a more civic-founded one—which was more inclusive of other ethnic groups and apparently Indigenous peoples. This chapter argues that this redefinition of citizenship took place primarily in the context of this major shift in national identity. After having established the context of the end of the British World in Canada (with a focus on the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the UK’s application for entry into the EEC) it explores the Canadian Citizenship Acts of 1957, 1962, 1967, and 1977 to illustrate the way in which citizenship became more inclusive of other ethnic groups in the country. It then studies the amendments of the Elections Act in 1950 and the Indian Act in 1955, the awarding of the right to vote for First Nations in 1960, and the 1969 White Paper, to highlight how citizenship in Canada also appeared to incorporate Indigenous groups at this time.

Chapter 3 on “Redefining Citizenship in Aotearoa New Zealand, 1950s–1970s” asserts that in the 1950s, Aotearoa New Zealand very much identified itself as a British country and an integral part of a wider British World which had the UK at its heart. However, by the 1970s this British World had come to an end, as had Aotearoa New Zealand’s self-identification as a British nation. During this period, citizenship in Aotearoa New Zealand was redefined in a significant way from being an ethnic (British)-based one to a more civic-founded one—which was more inclusive of other ethnic groups and apparently Māori. This chapter argues that this redefinition of citizenship took place primarily in the context of this major shift in national identity. After having established the context of the end of the British World in Aotearoa New Zealand (with a focus on the UK’s application for entry into the EEC and the British military withdrawal from “East of Suez”) it explores the popular pressure from mainly Dutch immigrants against distinctions between←5 | 6→ natural-born and naturalised citizens in 1955, the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Acts of 1959 and 1963, and the Citizenship and Aliens Act of 1977 to illustrate the ways in which citizenship became more inclusive of other ethnic groups in the country. It then studies the Māori Affairs Amendment Act of 1967, the Race Relations Act of 1971, the Māori Affairs Amendment Act of 1974, and the Treaty of Waitangi Act of 1975, to highlight the ways in which citizenship in Aotearoa New Zealand also attempted to incorporate Māori, although this proved to be highly problematic, and still unresolved at this stage.

According to Chapter 4 on “Comparisons” between the 1950s and 1970s, Britishness declined as the foundation of national identity in Australia, English-speaking Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. This was primarily due to external shocks for the three countries: the Suez Crisis of 1956 was the starting point of the process in Canada. The UK’s application for entry into the EEC was a common turning point for all three countries. The UK’s withdrawal from East of Suez in 1967 was the end point of the process in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The decline of the British connection led to a shift from an ethnic-centred (British) citizenship to a more civic-based one that was more inclusive of other ethnic groups and apparently Indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The highlights in Australia were the British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1967, the Australian Citizenship Act of 1973, the awarding of the right to vote to Aborigines in 1960, and the 1967 referendum, which gave the Commonwealth power to legislate for Aborigines. In Canada, the key points were the Canadian Citizenship Acts of 1967 and 1977, the awarding of the right to vote to First Nations on the federal level, and the White Paper of 1969. The highlights in Aotearoa New Zealand were the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act of 1959, the Citizenship and Aliens Act of 1977, and the Maori Affairs Amendment Acts of 1967 and 1974. The chapter draws comparisons between the Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand experiences and offers some explanations for any similarities and differences.

Notes

1.This was the belief that Australia, English-speaking Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand were an integral part of a wider British World.

2. Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich, eds., The British World: Diaspora, Culture and Identity. (Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2003).←6 | 7→

3. Heidi Bohaker and Franca Iacovetta, “Making Aboriginal People ‘Immigrants Too’”: A Comparison of Citizenship Programs for Newcomers and Indigenous Peoples in Postwar Canada, 1940s–1960s,” Canadian Historical Review 90, no. 3 (September 2009), 427–61; David Pearson, “Theorizing Citizenship in British Settler Societies,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, no. 6 (November 2002), 989–1012, looks at citizenship in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, but he took a sociological perspective and adopted a theoretical approach.

4. Anna Haebich, Spinning the Dream: Assimilation in Australia, 1950–1970 (North Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Press, c2007).

5. The most recent work on this is Jatinder Mann’s The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s (New York: Peter Lang, 2016). James Curran and Stuart Ward’s The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire (Parkville, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2010) also focuses on Australia’s self-identification as a British nation. A comparable work on the demise of Britishness in English-speaking Canada is José Igartua’s The Other Quiet Revolution: National Identities in English Canada, 1945–1971 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007). There has not been any in-depth book-length work on the decline of Britishness in Aotearoa New Zealand. However, James Belich does explore it in a broader history of Aotearoa New Zealand in Paradise Reforged. History of the New Zealanders from the 1880s to the Year 2000 (Auckland: Penguin Books, 2002). Stuart Ward also explored Aotearoa New Zealand’s self-identification in a broader comparative chapter on Australia, Canada, and New Zealand: “The ‘New Nationalism’ in Australia, Canada and New Zealand”: Civic Culture In the Wake of the British World” in Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures, edited by Kate Darian-Smith, Patricia Grimshaw, and Stuart Macintyre (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2007).

6. This is literally the beginning of the title of Alistair Davidson’s book, From Subject to Citizen: Australian Citizenship in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

7. Jatinder Mann, “The Evolution of Commonwealth Citizenship, 1945–48 in Canada, Britain and Australia,” Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 50, no. 3 (July 2012): 293–313.

8. I relied on the existing secondary literature to establish the context of the demise of Britishness in the three countries. The key sources in this regard are Jatinder Mann, “The Introduction of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1960s–1970s,” Nations and Nationalism 18, no. 3 (July 2012); Jatinder Mann, ‘“Leavening British Traditions’”: Integration Policy in Australia, 1962–1972,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 59, issue 1 (March 2013); Jatinder Mann, ‘“Anglo-Conformity’”’: Assimilation Policy in Canada, 1890s–1950s,” International Journal of Canadian Studies 50 (December 2014); Mann, The Search for a New National Identity; Curran and Ward, The Unknown Nation; Igartua, The Other Quiet Revolution; Neville Meaney, ‘“In History’s Page’: Identity and Myth” in Australia’s Empire, edited by Deryck M. Schreuder and Stuart Ward, The Oxford History of the British Empire Series, general editor Wm. Roger Louis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Ward, “The ‘New Nationalism’ in Australia, Canada and New Zealand”; James Curran, The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2006); Phil Buckner, ed., Canada and the←7 | 8→ End of Empire (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005); and Stuart Ward, Australia and the British Embrace: The Demise of the British Ideal (Carlton South, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2001).

9. National Archives of Australia (NAA), A5925 462/LEG: Legislation Committee—Cabinet Minute—Australian Citizenship Bill 1973.

10. National Library of Australia (NLA), MS 7798: Personal Papers of Al Grassby.

11. NAA, A406 E1967/30: 1967 Referendum constitution alteration—main file. NAA, A406 E1967/30 Part P: Referendum, 1967: Constitution alteration—Report on conduct of referendum.

12. NAA, M2684 116: [Personal papers of Prime Minister Holt] 1967 Referendum—“Yes” campaign, 1966–1967. NAA, M4299: [Personal Papers of Harold Holt].

13. Library and Archives Canada (LAC), RG19-F-2: Secretary of State—Citizenship Legislation, 1952–1976. LAC, RG3260-0–8-E: Department of Citizenship and Immigration Fonds, 1967–2012.

14. LAC, R11236-0–8-E: Jack “Bud” Cullen Fonds, 1969–1984.

15. LAC, RG26-A-2-A: Miscellaneous Re: Indian administration, 1942–1963. LAC, RG6-F-4: Indians—Indian conferences, general, 01/1959–06/1972.

16. LAC, R12805-0–0-E: Ellen Fairclough Fonds, 1951–2004.

17. Archives New Zealand (ANZ), R13024762: General—Naturalisation of Aliens and New Zealand Citizenship, 1972–1978. ANZ, R20761256: Commonwealth Affairs—Legislation and constitutional affairs—Nationality—NZ Citizenship: General [11/71–09/76], 1971–1976.←8 | 9→

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Redefining Citizenship in Australia, 1950s–1970s1

In the 1950s Australia very much identified itself as a British country and an integral part of a wider British World which had the UK at its centre. However, by the 1970s this British World had come to an end, as had Australia’s self-identification as a British nation. During this period, citizenship in Australia was redefined in a significant way from being an ethnic (British)- based one to a more civic-founded one which was more inclusive of other ethnic groups and apparently Aborigines. This chapter will argue that this redefinition of citizenship took place primarily in the context of this major shift in national identity. After having established the context of the end of the British World in Australia (with a focus on the UK’s application for entry into the EEC and the British withdrawal from “East of Suez”) it will explore the Nationality and Citizenship Acts of 1955 and 1960, the Citizenship Act of 1969, and the Australian Citizenship Act of 1973 to illustrate the way in which citizenship became more inclusive of other ethnic groups in the country. It will then study Aboriginal policy during the 1950s, the awarding of the right to vote to Aborigines in 1961, the 1967 constitutional referendum, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, between the 1960s and 1970s, to highlight how citizenship in Australia also appeared to incorporate Aborigines at this time.←9 | 10→

Theoretical Background

Before exploring these several themes, it will be useful to briefly discuss the theoretical background to citizenship in Australia during the 1950s and 1970s—namely, the distinction between normative citizenship (citizenship as status) and substantive citizenship (citizenship as rights and obligations). T. H. Marshall formulated “citizenship” as a designation given to those who are full participants of a community. Through this he enlarged citizenship to incorporate civil rights, as well as political and social citizenship.2 According to Wayne Hudson and John Kane, though, “What most Australians understand by citizenship is a mixture of legal and political citizenship….The history of legal and political citizenship in Australia, however, is problematic.”3 This relates to the fact that in the 1950s, citizenship in Australia was very much normative—it did not entail extensive rights and obligations. And to complicate things even more, British migrants could attain this status on much easier terms in comparison with non-British migrants. Aboriginal Australians, though possessing the “status” of Australian citizens, were deprived of rights which are usually associated with citizenship through a swathe of restrictive legislation—at both the federal and state levels. Helen Irving emphasised that “The political rights we most readily associate now with citizenship were…not what defined a citizen but what followed from being a citizen.”4 David Dutton argued that “The legal meaning of Australian citizenship has never been singularly defined, and must even now, be sought in the common law, and a multitude of Commonwealth and state statutes dealing with immigration, passports, the franchise, jury service, employment in the public service, and social security.”5 According to Sangeetha Pillai, “The commencement of the NCA 1948 signified the emergence of Australian statutory citizenship….However, this did not symbolize a radical shift in notions of formal membership of the Australian community, but rather a relatively gradual evolution from previous statutes which had shaped such notions without using the language of citizenship.”6 Nevertheless, by the 1970s, citizenship in Australia was considerably more substantive compared with the 1950s, and all migrants were put on an equal basis in terms of attaining this citizenship. Ann-Mari Jordens neatly encapsulated this redefinition, “Over 30 years, the presence of large numbers of non-British migrants in Australia slowly eroded the conception of Australian citizenship from a status based on British ethnicity and culture to one based on equality of rights and responsibilities.”7 However, I will argue that a shift in national identity rather than increasing multi-ethnicity was the←10 | 11→ main reason for this redefinition. Jordens added that a “culturally normative conception of citizenship was clearly reflected in the definition of ‘alien’ embodied in the [1948] Act….A nation’s understanding of itself is revealed by the categories of people it regards as foreign, alien and ‘other’….From 1948 to 1987 Australia’s citizenship legislation defined an alien as ‘a person who does not have the status of British subject and is not an Irish citizen or a protected person.’”8 Turning to Aborigines and citizenship, the most that one can really say about when Aboriginal groups became Australian citizens is that, primarily during the 1960s, Aboriginal groups gradually secured the substantive citizenship rights that up to that point had been withheld from them at the State and Commonwealth levels as State and Commonwealth statutes that limited their citizenship rights were slowly repealed.9 Susan Dodds maintained that “In considering ways of thinking about Australian Aboriginal citizenship, the history of European engagement with indigenous Australians acts as a constant reminder of the gap between abstract idealisations of liberal democratic citizenship and the reality of colonial and post-colonial Australian social policy….Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were not simply ‘overlooked’ in the process of nation building; their status as rights bearers was actively undermined.”10 Ann Curthoys stated that “In Australia there have been for a long time two distinct yet connected public and intellectual debates concerning the significance of descent, belonging and culture….One revolves around the cleavage between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and especially the status of indigenous claims deriving from a history of colonization….The other debate centers on the immigrant, and his or her challenge to Australian society at large.”11 This chapter contributes to both of these debates.

Context of the End of the British World

Having established this theoretical background, the chapter will now turn to exploring the context of the end of the British World as the major reason for the redefinition of citizenship in Australia between the 1950s and 1970s. In the post-Second-World-War period, Australia was very much a British society and an integral part of a wider British World. The British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1948 is an excellent and very appropriate example of this. Although this Act established the concept of Australian citizenship for the very first time, it emphasised British Nationality over Australian Citizen←11 | 12→ship. Furthermore, the status of British subject was preserved and white immigrants12 from the British Commonwealth were given preferential treatment in terms of naturalisation.13 The Suez Crisis of 195614 was a further demonstration of Australia’s identification as an integral part of a wider British World. Throughout the episode the Australian government fully supported the UK’s position of overturning President Nasser’s decision to nationalise the Suez Canal. Australia offered unequivocal support for the UK, as it considered itself a British country. The UK was still the centre of a wider British World, and, therefore, backing the UK was still regarded as supporting the “mother-country.”15

However, in the early 1960s the first signs that Australia’s Britishness was beginning to wane started to emerge. The first application of the UK government for entry into the EEC in 1961 marked the beginning of the unraveling of the belief that Australia was part of a wider British World. It came as a psychological shock to the Australians, as they had previously received repeated assurances from the British that there was no question of them making a choice between Europe and the Commonwealth. However, the Australian government became increasingly concerned by the lack of communication from London during 1960 and 1961, when the UK was reconsidering its position towards the EEC. Despite repeated requests for information, the British refused to indicate which way they were thinking until a more solid agreement had been secured with the Six (this was the six original members of the EEC—France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The latter three were collectively known as Benelux).16

There were increasing rumours and speculation in early 1961 about a reversal of British policy. This led to the Australian government’s sudden interest in European economic matters. Minister for Trade John McEwen announced to the Cabinet in February that although the entire picture was not clear, it appeared as if the UK was shifting closer and closer towards something along the lines of full membership of the EEC. The Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies expressed the deep concerns of the Australian people about this eventuality. He specifically drew attention to the political and strategic effects that Britain’s decision would have on the Commonwealth. If Britain were to join the EEC, how would it then consider Australia, Canada, and the rest of the Commonwealth?17

But unlike the UK, Australia did not have an alternative geographic grouping to redirect its interests to. Thus, the Australian government decided to use whatever means it could to ensure that British entry into the EEC←12 | 13→ would not lead to a fundamental shift in Australia’s long-standing political and economic ties to the UK. Menzies’ subsequent tough probing of the British government illustrated the level of Australia’s concerns. The issue of Britain and Europe had initiated a re-evaluation of the very concept of “British interests,” rather than being seen as just a temporary conflict of interest between Australia and Britain. Menzies increased the pressure by stating that the UK had a very hard choice between the Commonwealth and Europe. On 31 July 1961, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan announced his government’s decision to seek membership of the EEC.18 Macmillan’s EEC statement resulted in a diverse range of responses in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald represented the general feeling, however, announcing that the British action was one of the most historic statements of the century.19

If the UK’s application for membership of the EEC initiated the breakdown of Britishness in Australia, its resolve in 1967 to end its military role “East of Suez” was the culmination. This move was significant in itself as it illustrated the end of the UK’s military world role. To commentators in both the UK and Australia it appeared that the decline of one of the last symbols of the Anglo-Australian relationship would result in the demise of Australia’s long-standing British self-identification. This was due to British race patriotism in Australia being founded on the idea that Britons in Australia and the UK had a community of interest, which the British decision to withdraw from “East of Suez” acted blatantly against. But some time before the UK announced its move, there had been increasing problems in the British-Australian strategic relationship, which had led to Australia progressively becoming a part of the US sphere. Nevertheless, this had not affected Australia’s Britannic identity in any significant way, as it had always (with a few noteworthy exceptions) preserved a differentiation between sentiment and interest, particularly when it came to foreign policy. Moreover, although the UK had not yet become a member of the EEC, its failed bid in 1961–63 had most definitely resulted in Australia questioning their future relationship and had led to initiatives to broaden Australian trade.20

As expected, there were Australian protests aimed at the British over their announcement. Alexander Downer, Australian High Commissioner in London, tried to persuade the British government that it would be a travesty of history if the UK were to be simply a European power. But largely, Downer’s emotive reaction was not typical of most Australians’ views in 1967, or indeed of those of the new Holt government. Although Foreign Minister Paul Hasluck did suggest to Prime Minister Harold Holt that connections of familial←13 | 14→ ties and common wartime experiences should be emphasised in communications with the UK, this was only a small component of the overarching Australian plan. Even the most ardent disciples of the British heritage had been compelled to accept the existence of this new world.21

Holt attempted to articulate a unique Australian identity based on both a British heritage and the European migrant cultures. In an Australia Day speech in 1967 he acknowledged: “Ours is not a long story as the history of many other nations is counted but in that time we have evolved our distinctive national identity and character […] We have been assisted to do so by our heritage of British democracy and the cultures of European civilization.” But he did not elaborate on what this apparently special Australian character and identity of the country entailed.22

The end of Britishness and the question of whether an Australian nationalism could be located to replace it coalesced in the late 1960s under Prime Minister John Gorton. Although Holt asked important questions, Gorton’s public addresses on this subject were an illustration of the confusion and problems faced by national leaders in the late 1960s. Acknowledging that they could now develop a homegrown national identity, but at the same time wanting to hold onto the British connection, they found themselves on the horns of a dilemma. Hence, Gorton attempted to push an idea of “Australianism.” In his opinion, the development of a sense of national pride represented a central goal for his government.23

The Whitlam government has often been associated with an unexpected emergence of a more autonomous and confident Australian nationalism; however, Gorton can be regarded as a predecessor of this drive, particularly in his arts policy initiatives. By establishing the Australian Council for the Arts, facilitating the re-emergence of the Australian film industry, and laying the basis for the introduction of an Australia Film and Television School, Gorton was linking himself and his government with an emerging faith in Australia’s cultural uniqueness. While Holt had laid the foundation for a federal arts programme, Gorton took it up and supported it, not so much because of a newly discovered love of the arts, but instead due to his political search for a “new nationalism.” Therefore, he promoted home-grown dance, music, opera, and above all, television and film. He had limited success in the achievement of this goal, however.24

The Sunday Australian captured the substance of the “new nationalism” in early 1972: “A splendid opportunity exists to build a multi-national society, rich and diverse in its origins but cohesive in its identity […] Australia must←14 | 15→ be a country in which our people are concerned with a common purpose and a sharing of common identity.”25 This talk of Australia as a multi-national society but with a particular focus on national cohesion, along with somehow also possessing a clear idea of community and identity, combined the key concepts and contradictions of the “new nationalism.” The decline of the idea that Australia was a part of a wider British World was helped by the long-drawn-out way in which the UK entered the EEC, which occurred in 1973, a dozen years after the original application. It was also assisted by the realisation by Australian leaders that the nation’s trading future was in Asia, which for the majority of its past had been its psychological enemy. A white British Australian identity was no longer wanted and no longer appropriate as the nation attempted to come to terms with its presence in a changed world. In the early 1960s, then, the concept of Australia as a “British” country started to lose credibility and relevance. Later in the decade the “new nationalism,” which emphasised a domestic Australian identity, arose as a possible replacement for Britishness. But this entire period was one of questioning and uncertainty. Thus, apart from an emphasis on national cohesion and uniquely Australian creative effort, there was not much substance to the “new nationalism.”26 This was the context in which nationality and citizenship legislation was amended during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1955

The Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1955 was the first notable reform of citizenship legislation in Australia (in that a new piece of legislation was actually introduced) since the inaugural British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1948. The slowly changing views on British nationality vis-à-vis Australian citizenship amongst certain sections of the Australian population in the 1950s were on display in a letter from a Sidney W. Smith to Prime Minister Robert Menzies on the occasion of the census:

The collector forced me to put British. Now, Sir, my parents came to this country at a very early age with their British parents. I was born at Maitland N. S. Wales sixty-six years ago and am proud to call myself an Australian and I take it as an insult to be forced to cross it out by an Immigrant Census collector. Trusting you will see fit for this Commonwealth to have its own identity in future.27

Menzies queried the situation with Harold Holt, the Minister for Immigration; Secretary of the Department Sir Tasman Heyes produced a memorandum in which he outlined the legal position:←15 | 16→

So far as our own law is concerned, it is set down, as you know, in the Nationality and Citizenship Act that certain persons are “Australian citizens” and “British subjects.” (Certain others are “protected persons”—the natives of our trust territories.) Everyone who is an Australian citizen is a British subject. There is no provision in the Act enabling anyone to claim that he is of Australian “nationality.”28

Although Heyes did qualify his remarks with “To sum up the answer to your questions seems to me to be that you are—(a) an Australian citizen and a British subject under Australian law; (b) of Australian nationality so far as international law is concerned.”29 With this information, the Prime Minister’s Department could respond to Sidney W. Smith along the following lines:

The Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948/53 distinguishes between citizenship and nationality. Under that Act a person born in Australia is, with certain exceptions, an Australian citizen. By virtue of the Act, such a person is also a “British subject.” It seems, under the circumstances, that you would not have been incorrect in showing your nationality as Australian. However, the form impliedly requested that in the case of British Commonwealth citizens their nationality should be shown as British.30

So, even the Commonwealth government was beginning to recognize that more and more Australians preferred referring to themselves as “Australian” citizens as opposed to “British” subjects.

Other issues in regard to Australian citizenship at the time included why there were not a higher number of immigrants applying for naturalization, and whether the legal conditions in relation to naturalization were too strict.31 In August 1954 an ALP MP for Port Adelaide, Albert Thompson, took this even further, asking Holt “whether any consideration has been given to the high cost to New Australians of making an application for naturalization in connection with newspaper advertisements and the fee that is charged.”32 He added that “If not, can the matter be examined with the object of lessening the cost because of the necessity for having all people who are willing to confirm to the laws of the country naturalized?”33 The Minister for Supply, Howard Beale, replied that he would have the issue investigated and provide Thompson with an answer.34

However, the broader issue of numbers of immigrants not seeking Australian citizenship was raised again the following month, this time by another Parliamentarian, Alan Bird, the ALP member for Batman: “It is apparent from the figures to which I have referred, that for some reason or other, many eligible persons are not keen to seek naturalization….I appeal to the Government to give urgent consideration to this matter, because it is essential that those eligible to apply should do so as quickly as possible.”35 He continued with “Does the Government think that the requirements of the Nationality and Citizenship←16 | 17→ Act are too stringent? Does it consider that the fee which is charged is too high, and that the nature of the naturalization ceremony is a deterrent?”36 Bird also raised the specific issue of the £5 payment for naturalization: “I also ask the Minister whether he thinks that the payment of the fee of £5 might deter some immigrants from seeking considering naturalization….A fee for naturalization was not charged until 1932, and since that time it has remained the same.”37

In October 1954 Holt responded to this repeated pressure, stating that the issue “was considered by the recent Australian Citizenship Convention and the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council.” He added that “certain recommendations relating to that and other matters have come to me and…those recommendations are now receiving my consideration with a view to their presentation in Cabinet.”38 The following month, Heyes wrote to his Minister arguing that:

Our suggestion was that fees be abolished. I understand the proposal has now been made that all persons, British or alien, applying for Australian citizenship should pay a fee of £1. This would mean an increase (10/-) for British applicants and a reduction (£4) for aliens. I would not suggest that we strongly oppose such a policy of “non-discrimination” but merely offer the comment that we may be criticised for simultaneously changing fees to the disadvantage of British people but to the advantage of non-British migrants.39

Therefore, the reference to the “disadvantage of British people” demonstrated the continuing strength of Britishness in Australia at this time. Nonetheless, Holt took Heyes’ advice and suggested to Cabinet that the £5 charge for naturalization be removed: “The fee of £5 represents a substantial deterrent to new settlers who might otherwise become Australian citizens….Apart from this aspect it is suggested that it is wrong in principle that fees should be charged for the conferment of the status of Australian citizen upon new settlers who have been found worthy of it in all other respects.”40

The government finally introduced the Nationality and Citizenship Bill in April 1955. In introducing the bill, Holt maintained that “The House might be interested to know that the action now being taken is part of a more comprehensive approach designed to encourage the person who is qualified on all counts by residence to become a full citizen of Australia.”41

The Leader of the ALP Opposition, Arthur Calwell, who was also the Minister for Immigration responsible for the original 1948 British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act, expressed his general support for the bill:

The requirement of a five-year period of residence proceeding naturalization has never been altered, and I hope that it will never be altered. Some people have said that←17 | 18→ it would encourage New Australians to become naturalized if they were allowed to acquire citizenship within twelve months of their arrival in the country….Under the bill it is proposed to eliminate the requirement to advertise and also to lower the fee that is charged. These are steps in the right direction.42

So, the Cabinet had not decided to remove the naturalization fee altogether. Another Parliamentarian, Percy Clarey, the ALP member for Bendigo, commented that “At the same time, they will be able to appreciate more, not only the advantages of Australian citizenship but the responsibilities that are associated with it.”43 He added that:

The second desirable feature of the bill is that it will make the conferring of citizenship a less formal matter than has been the case in the past. By the amendment of the principal act and by an endeavor to let the person who is becoming a naturalized Australian citizen see that the Australian people welcome him as a citizen, as a person with whom they will be living in the future, and as a person whom they trust to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship.44

The latter was a reference to the introduction of public citizenship ceremonies, a departure from the previous situation whereby new citizens only read out their citizenship pledge to a judge. Bird, who had been a long-time campaigner for reform of the nationality and citizenship legislation, suggested that:

The Government should embark upon a vigorous press campaign to give plenty of publicity by means of advertisements and informative articles to the matter. The subject could also be covered in radio broadcasts, in addition, leaflets should be printed on a large scale in foreign languages to inform immigrants just how good things will be for them when they become Australian citizens.45

Thus, Bird’s thinking was that through this advertising campaign drawing attention to the ways in which naturalisation had been made easier, migrants would be more willing to seek citizenship. Although the Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1955 did not introduce any groundbreaking changes to citizenship legislation, it showed that gradual change was taking place. Britishness in Australia would have to decline for more substantial changes to take place.

The Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1960

The Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1960 built on the previous changes in 1955. One of the main thrusts for change was agitation on the part of naturalised citizens on the distinctions that were made between them and natural-←18 | 19→born British subjects when it came to the privileges of citizenship. In 1957 attention was drawn particularly to the fact that the “Minister may deprive of citizenship any person who within five years after naturalization is sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or longer.”46 The following year the government responded to this criticism by conceding that the point was a fair one: “From the point of view of a new settler naturalization should give full citizenship rights available to native born Australians….The Minister tells us something of the support for the view that the present formal discrimination against naturalized or registered citizens should be discontinued.”47 In a memorandum produced by Minister for Immigration Athol Townley on the “Amendment of Nationality and Citizenship Act—Grounds for Depriving Naturalised Persons of Australian Citizenship,” attention was drawn to the fact that equivalent Canadian legislation, although broadly similar to Australia’s, did not contain a provision depriving a naturalised citizen of their citizenship if they were imprisoned within five years of being naturalised.48 This continued a long-term trend of Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand constantly comparing their nationality and citizenship legislation with each other, as they were based on the same model.

Townley acknowledged the concern expressed by some surrounding the deprivation of citizenship provisions in the current legislation, while at the same time trying to assuage this concern in a speech at the opening of the Citizenship Convention in 1958:

A surprising variety of people during recent months have expressed some concern about what they believed to be discrimination between naturalized Australian citizens and natural-born Australian citizens as a result of certain provisions, particularly Section 21, of the Nationality and Citizenship Act. These provisions, as some of you know, can be used to deprive a naturalized citizen of his Australian citizenship under certain conditions, such as if he commits acts of disloyalty or certain crimes. In actual fact these provisions have almost never been invoked.49

The Australian government then proceeded to determine exactly what its Canadian counterpart had done in the recent revision of its own citizenship legislation, especially in regard to the distinctions between naturalised and natural-born citizens.50 It received extracts from the parliamentary debates in the Canadian House of Commons surrounding the passage of the legislation at the end of 1958, specifically, a speech by Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Ellen L. Fairclough on the introduction of the bill from its High Commission in Ottawa:←19 | 20→

Mrs. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the primary purpose of this bill is to remove certain discriminations which now exist against other than natural-born Canadian citizens in relation to loss of Canadian citizenship and, in addition, to make it clear that a person who does not take the oath of allegiance in good faith at the time of acquiring Canadian citizenship is liable to have his Canadian citizenship revoked, subject to the right of such person to a hearing before a commission of court as provided by the act. The bill also makes provision for obtaining a ruling from an independent tribunal if doubt exists as to whether a person has ceased to be a Canadian citizen under the act.51

Secretary of the Department of Immigration Sir Tasman Heyes replied to his counterpart in the Department of External Affairs in August 1960 that:

The debates in the House of Commons have been read with interest. What strikes us most forcibly here is not what was said, but what was apparently left unsaid, in regard to the continued existence of Section 18 of the Canadian Act, whereby naturalized Canadians (as distinct from “natural born” citizens) can apparently still lose citizenship through residence abroad….We shall be interested to learn of any intention of the Government to amend Section 18, or of any pressure which may develop for such amendment. It was considered here that removal of discrimination between naturalised and Australian born people inevitably entailed repeal of Section 20 of our Act, corresponding in principle to the Canadian Section 18.52

Heyes followed this up with a further request in August 1960 for the Australian High Commission in Ottawa to “ascertain where there has been any change in Canadian Citizenship law or if any change is contemplated.”53 The Department of External Affairs received a prompt reply the following month: “In reply to your memo number 271 of 1st September, 1960, no significant change has been made in the Canadian Citizenship Act, nor has there been any open political pressure of any magnitude for such change.”54

So, the government decided to introduce a Nationality and Citizenship Bill in October 1960, but it did not deal with the main concerns expressed particularly by Dutch migrants about the discrimination against them and other naturalised citizens; instead, it focused on more practical matters of the naturalisation process. I would argue that this was a reflection of the continued strength of Britishness at this time, as it was still considered important to differentiate between naturalised and natural-born citizens:

Except in the details referred to below, the above Bill is in accordance with Cabinet Decision No. 938 dated 2 August, 1960, which authorised the introduction of a Bill to amend section 36 of the Nationality and Citizenship Act—(a) to provide that an applicant for citizenship should state to an officer the information in support of his application required by section 36, eliminating the present requirement of that←20 | 21→ section for the information to be contained in a statutory declaration, and (b) to abolish the present requirement of section 36 for an applicant to produce certificates of character from three Australian citizens.55

In an explanatory memorandum on the legislation, Minister for Immigration Alexander Downer outlined one of the main motivations behind the bill: “These amendments are designed to simplify the rather complex application procedure for Australian citizenship….This has been found to be beyond what could reasonably be expected from alien new settlers, and is proving a serious deterrent to many would-be applicants for naturalization.”56 He then drew particular attention to one of the current requirements that it was the intention of the legislation to change:

Many migrants who wish to become Australian citizens are extremely diffident about asking Australian citizens to certify that they are persons of good repute, as they are now required to do so, knowing full well that in many instances the Australian citizens are not really in a position to vouch for them. Some new settlers are anxious not to impair their good relations with their Australian acquaintances, sometimes achieved only after careful cultivation, by a request which might embarrass their friends.57

Downer attempted to bring a personal touch to what was practical legislation in his second reading speech on the bill later that month:

Thus, a somewhat cold, legal process will give way to what I hope will be always a friendly encounter between an applicant and a Departmental official. Without wishing to claim too much, I am hopeful that, if the House agrees to this simplification of procedure, the whole machinery of naturalization will become easier, more co-operative, and more attractive to the many thousands we are anxious to clothe with full citizenship rights.58

The reference to “full citizenship rights” should be particularly noted, as this was an important shift in political rhetoric on the issue. The continued prevalence of Britishness was apparent in Downer’s comment on the proposed legislation being “an example of the Government’s constant desire to bring more and more of our settlers from Europe and other lands into the all-embracing status of British subjects and Australian Citizens.”59 The legislation passed and came into law by December 1960. In a press statement by Downer that month he said application for naturalisation by migrants was now so simple that every eligible person could apply without difficulty. However, he appealed directly to those migrants that were eligible to apply for naturalisation but had not yet done so, “We want you to apply for Australian Citizenship….←21 | 22→But you must remember it is a worthwhile prize and you must be worthy of it.”60 He added that “It is the most valuable gift Australia can offer you….We have made it easier for you to seek it….Now I hope you will take advantage of the new and freer legislation.”61 The essence of the legislation then was encapsulated in some notes on the citizenship bill: “The purpose of this Bill, therefore, is to help migrants to become Australians in law without any real weakening of the conditions governing the grant of citizenship.”62 Hence, the legislation was not exactly groundbreaking. But it again illustrates the gradual change that was taking place on the issue. More substantive change would have to wait until the demise of Britishness, which was just about to begin with the UK’s first application for entry into the EEC in 1961.

The Citizenship Act of 1969

The Nationality and Citizenship Act was changed in 1955, 1960, 1969, and 1973. As mentioned above, the 1955 and 1960 amendments were minimal, as views took another decade to begin to shift.63 The significant changes in 1973 have rightly been given considerable attention by scholars. However, the 1969 changes were also important, and in some ways laid the foundation for the subsequent changes in 1973. Therefore, I will focus on them next.64 In late 1967 the West Australian suggested amending Australian naturalisation ceremonies so that applicants would only be required to swear allegiance to the Queen of Australia. It justified this move in terms of the goal of increasing rates of naturalisation and highlighted that non-British migrants had no basis for cherishing British ties.65 Commonwealth Director of Migration G. E. Hitchins wrote a letter early the following year to Peter Heydon, Secretary of the Department of Immigration, in which he recommended amending the Oath of Allegiance to remove the reference to the “Queen, her heirs and successors” and simply asking the applicant to declare their loyalty to “Australia and the Constitution” as well as contemplating whether the renunciation of former allegiance was really required and considering a reduction in the qualifying period for naturalisation to perhaps three years. He added that there was some opposition by certain migrants to swearing allegiance to the Queen, whereas they would not be against declaring loyalty to Australia.66

A Departmental Committee to review the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948–1967 also made some recommendations on amendments. In particular, with the aim of placing more importance on Australian citizenship, it←22 | 23→ recommended that the title of the Act be revised from Nationality and Citizenship Act to Australian Citizenship Act. This would follow Canada’s Act. In addition, in furtherance of the Minister’s opinion that more emphasis should be placed on “Australian Citizenship” than in the past, it suggested the inclusion of a new Section (similar to one in the Canadian Citizenship Act) allowing that when Australians were asked to state their national status, it would be acceptable to declare “Australian citizen.”67 In terms of practicalities, an Inter-Departmental Committee stated that the impact of this on other federal legislation could be handled with a clause in the Act itself, but State governments would need to introduce legislation individually to make sure that the basic description “Australian citizen” met their legislative provisions regarding British subjects.68 In April 1968 Heydon drew the attention of the Minister for Immigration, Billy Snedden, to a new provision in the proposals for revision of the Nationality and Citizenship Act that he had under consideration which would allow Australians, when required to state their national status, to declare that they were an “Australian citizen,” and that mention of “British subject” in other Commonwealth legislation would be considered to refer to both Australian citizen or British subject.69 Furthermore, he suggested the following response to a question without notice by Ian Wilson, Liberal MP for Sturt, on the subject:

I recognise, as the honorable member says, that misunderstandings can arise out of the use of the phrase “British” to describe the status of Australians, now that the phrase is used by the British Government, and indeed internationally, to mean people and things pertaining to the United Kingdom alone. This fact has not lacked the Government’s attention as for example in the description of Australian passports as British passports which has now ended.70

But the following month Heydon qualified his remarks to Snedden in his comments on one of the Inter-Departmental Committee’s main recommendations:

The time may well come when our laws generally will cease to give such a privileged position to settlers from other Commonwealth countries—and will attach significance instead to the status of Australian citizens, the prerequisites for which will be common to all settlers; but while our laws remain as they are, our nationality legislation should be attuned to them.71

He added that the Committee’s report stated that a British subject with resident status had all the key rights and obligations of citizenship, and in particular, he could not be deported after five years (crime-free) residence; to give←23 | 24→ them the right to apply for citizenship after five years did no more than give “de jure” acknowledgement of a current “de facto” context.72

The legal consequences of emphasising Australian Citizenship over British Nationality were discussed within the Attorney-General’s Department in late 1968:

I understand that the proposal that a section be inserted to the effect that whenever Australians are required to state their national status, it would be sufficient to state “Australian citizen” was taken from the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 which has an equivalent section. While this Act declares Canadian citizens to be British subjects, it does not specifically provide for British nationality….It would seem to me that before the Attorney-General could make any public statement as to the proposed changes there must be some clarification of the Commonwealth’s intention as regards nationality and Australian citizens being British subjects.73

This highlighted the differences between the initial citizenship legislation adopted by both Canada and Australia in the post-Second-World-War period, which related to Britishness operating in a bicultural society in the former and a predominantly monocultural one in the latter.74

The member for Hindmarsh, Clyde Cameron, expressed the ALP Opposition’s view on the Liberal-National Coalition government’s proposals in late 1968:

The Opposition, generally speaking, and subject to a further examination of this proposal—we will not have an opportunity to examine it further until the Bill is introduced next year—is generally in accord with what is now proposed. However, I raise at once some doubt as to the advisability of giving to any person, not matter what the circumstances that may exist, the right to be naturalised after only 3 years in this country.75

This opposition to reducing the period that a non-British migrant had to wait before being naturalised is interesting, as the ALP position would change quite drastically in just a few years. Cameron added, though, that “I am pleased indeed that the Government proposes to drop this old Union Jack idea of calling ourselves British subjects….I do not like the word ‘subject.”’76 This, on the other hand, was a much more traditional ALP position.

Newspapers also reacted generally very positively to the proposals. According to the Age: “the decision…will, in effect, reduce from five to three years the time which alien immigrants of good character, and with a reasonable command of English, must wait before they become eligible for citizenship.”77 The Melbourne Herald maintained that “For many foreign-born migrants, the←24 | 25→ proposals announced last night for easing the conditions of naturalisation will be a practical form of welcome to Australia.”78 The Sydney Morning Herald argued that “Those who have willingly committed themselves to Australia are entitled to expect that everything will be done to remove unnecessary barriers against obtaining full citizenship rights….But the legislation continues to recognise the privileged position of migrants from Britain and Commonwealth countries over those from Europe.”79 The Daily Telegraph asserted that “A migrant who needs more than three years to decide to become a citizen is hardly worth having anyway—and putting those who do want citizenship into a kind of limbo for five years could be psychologically harmful.”80 Il Globo, an Italian-Australian publication, triumphantly declared that “Australian citizens will have to consider themselves above all ‘Australian,’ and ‘British subjects’ in a secondary sense only….Our paper has fought ceaselessly for years for such a justified reform.”81

Minister for Immigration, Billy Snedden, highlighted in his second reading speech on the Bill that “The Bill…proposed some changes which are fundamental to our national status and the concept of Australian citizenship, as well as to the rules under which our citizenship may be acquired.”82 There was a diverse range of responses to the Bill in Parliament, although most approved of the general principle of the legislation. Wilson commented that “There is no doubt there is a growing sense of Australian nationality amongst the people of this country….I applaud the decision to give primacy to the expression ‘Australian citizen.”’83 Arthur Calwell criticised the reduction in the period of naturalisation for non-British migrants: “I think that our gift of naturalisation is so great and so valuable that it should not be lightly regarded….If is necessary to attract all sorts of good people to Australia from all countries I do not think that we should cheapen the value of our citizenship by making it available too easily to a lot of people who want it.”84

The Australian Citizenship Act of 1973

The Australian Citizenship Act of 1973 was the next major reform of Australian Citizenship and Nationality legislation. As mentioned above, it built on the reforms of the Citizenship Act of 1969. One of the major elements the Bill introduced was a suggested new Oath (or Affirmation) of Allegiance: firstly, it removed the renunciation of allegiance which had been a source of considera←25 | 26→ble emotional turmoil for some migrants, and secondly, allegiance was now to be sworn to the Constitution of Australia—specific mention of the Queen was not made. The Bill also provided for a transitional period of two years (after the new Act commenced) during which:

Commonwealth citizens, Irish citizens, and South African and Pakistani citizens already resident in Australia, will be able to become Australian citizens after one year’s residence; and…aliens who have lived in Commonwealth countries or served under those countries’ Governments may have such residence or service accepted as part of the new qualifying period of three years’ residence for the grant of Australian citizenship.85

The Bill did not adjust the context in which citizens of Commonwealth countries, whether they became Australian citizens or not, carried on having the status of British or Commonwealth of Nations subjects and hence had benefits including the vote and ability to be employed in the public service under Parliamentary legislation.86 Nevertheless, it was emphasised that the Bill would remove (after a transitional period) the past previous discrimination between citizens of Commonwealth nations and others, particularly by requiring the same period of residence for all, and providing everyone with the chance to attend citizenship ceremonies.87

In his second reading speech on the Bill, Minister for Immigration, Al Grassby, emphasised the main thrust of the legislation, which was to establish equality between all migrants:

The guiding principles for the Government in the vitally important matter of the grant of Australian Citizenship is that there should not be discrimination between different groups of settlers seeking to join the family of the nation. Wherever they were born—whatever their nationality—whatever the colour of their complexion—they should all be able to become Australian citizens under just the same conditions….So it is that this Bill provides for all, regardless of origins, the same requirements as to residence, good character, knowledge of the language and of the rights and duties of citizenship, and intention to live here permanently.88

The Bill also stipulated that all those applying for citizenship, apart from children under sixteen, would need to take the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance, with no regard to their previous nationality. This meant that migrants from all the thirty-one Commonwealth countries would now have the same chance as other migrants to participate in citizenship ceremonies appropriately marking the significant event of their becoming citizens.89 Grassby also emphasised another notable change in the proposed legislation:←26 | 27→

It is important to end the confusion which has been permitted to continue since the Citizenship Act of 1949 and the use of terminology which has given many Australians the mistaken impression that they are not only Australians citizens but also citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This has not been the case for twenty-four years yet the past Government permitted Australians to remain confused on this point.90

The Opposition, however, opposed all main features of the Bill. Philip Lynch, former Minister for Immigration and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, fired the opening salvo:

The Opposition rejects the major provisions of this Bill for a number of fundamental reasons. The legislation seeks to remove the position of preferment which British migrants have enjoyed since the inception of Australia’s immigration program…our early arrivals with relatively limited exceptions, came almost solely…from the British Isles….The Government seems intent on ending that special relationship….I have…indicated that the Opposition is opposed to the proposal to delete all references to the Queen from the oath of allegiance taken by migrants at citizenship ceremonies. It is equally opposed to the Government’s proposal to omit the renunciation of allegiance to another country.91

But Grassby did also receive support from his side of the house. Maxwell Oldmeadow, the member for Holt, rose to support the Bill and stated that he and his side of the house did not share the alarm expressed by Lynch. There were no disincentives to British migrants. He also drew attention to the fact that Grassby had stated that renunciation of former citizenship served no legal purpose, though his most salient comments were: “A nation which has come of age, which has confidence in its future and has successfully emerged from the shadows of colonialism neither requires nor will accept such a sacrifice….Australian citizenship must always be preserved and solidified by its highest common factors.”92 The Opposition, however, was not finished: Alexander Forbes, the member for Barker, chimed in with a reference to British migrants: “Just who does the Minister for Immigration think he is kidding? Since when did people who are placed in a privileged position object because there was discrimination in their favour?”93 He scathingly added, with a reference to non-British migrants, that “Citizenship is an act of identification with the adopted country and with the values and mores of its inhabitants….Persons who cannot accept these things have not sufficiently identified as to be ready for citizenship.”94

But the government was not to be cowed on the Bill. The ALP member for Bowman, Leonard Keogh, made a lively riposte to Forbes:←27 | 28→

As the honourable member for Barker (Dr. Forbes) was making his speech this evening I expected him to break out at any time into a verse from “Rule Britannia.” My colleague, the honourable member for Liley (Mr. Doyle) said to me when he walked into the chamber that he felt sure that he must have been in Rhodesia listening to Ian Smith….The Immigration policy of the Government seeks to rid the nation of the inconsistencies, inequalities and discrimination that we believe should no longer be allowed to exist when we are seeking to bring people from various countries and to welcome them as citizens in their own right in Australia.95

Therefore, Keogh criticised the Imperial hanging-on of the Opposition at the same time as stressing the positive moves the government was trying to make to remove the discrimination between different types of migrants. Grassby picked up on this theme in his reply to MPs’ responses to his second reading speech:

The Opposition has attempted tonight to turn back the tide of history. It has rejected the concept of Australian citizenship as the badge of a free, strong and independent people….How could any Minister responsible for immigration and citizenship go out to the million here and now and the tens of thousands still coming and draft them off like so many sheep and cattle, saying: “You go to the one year pen; you go to the 3-year pen; you to the 5-year pen….Italians, Dutch, Germans, Greeks and Lebanese to the right and wait for 3 years; Tongans, Zambians, Canadians, British and Indians to the left and wait for one year if you are light enough and 5 years if you are not.”96

Grassby pleaded to all members of Parliament to look at the citizenship legislation in a non-partisan way instead of on the level of petty party politics. The Bill simply recommended that all discrimination be removed from the conditions for the granting of Australian citizenship to migrants.97

In another speech on the Australian Citizenship Bill of 1973, Grassby attempted to draw links between the current citizenship legislation and its predecessor in 1969:

The present leader of the Opposition when Minister for Immigration introduced a Citizenship Bill in 1969 which showed a progressive outlook by recognising the growing importance of the status of Australian citizen. That Bill specifically provided that an Australian when asked to state his nationality had only to say “I am an Australian citizen”….“What this Government now puts to this House in the present Australian Citizenship Bill is that it is time we progressed still further towards reality by ending the artificial discriminations in the present Act, in the matter of requirements for Australian citizenship.”98

However, his call fell on deaf ears. Though the Bill passed the House of Representatives relatively easily due to the government’s majority in that house, it faced a much tougher time in the Senate, where the Opposition held the←28 | 29→ balance of power. Grassby was forced to accept some amendments to his legislation, in particular, migrants having the choice to swear allegiance to the Australian Constitution or to the Queen.

So, I have shown above how the end of the British World led to a redefinition of citizenship in Australia between the 1950s and 1970s in relation to other ethnic groups. The chapter will now turn to Aborigines and the redefinition of citizenship in Australia between the 1950s and 1970s.

Aboriginal Policy During the 1950s

The West Australian newspaper outlined the Commonwealth government’s policy on Aborigines in early 1950:

The policy of the Federal Government in the administration of native affairs is to try to raise the status of the aborigines to enable them to take their place as members of the community with full citizenship rights. It includes the pursuit of a positive plan of education for children and adults, social service benefits, health services and conditions of employment.99

In May 1950 the Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, announced that the “Commonwealth Government, exercising a national responsibility for the welfare of the whole Australian people, should cooperate with State Governments in measures for the social advancement as well as the protection of aboriginal races throughout the country.”100 He put this broad intention into concrete form the following year by recommending in a memorandum for Cabinet that “The Commonwealth Government invite State Governments to be represented at a Conference, to be held in Canberra in August, 1951, of Federal and State Ministers responsible for native welfare, and that the Department of Territories prepare the agenda and supporting proposals for circulation to the State Governments beforehand.”101 A further key suggestion was that:

A proposal be placed before this conference to establish an Australian Council of Native Welfare, composed of the Federal and State Ministers and the permanent heads of Departments charged with native welfare;….and that the Council communicate its decisions in the form of recommendations to the Government or Governments responsible for executive actions.102

In terms of practicalities, he recommended that “the principle of special financial contribution by the Commonwealth for funds necessary for the ad←29 | 30→vancement of native welfare be accepted.” He added that “the Treasurer, in consultation with the Minister for Territories, be asked to consider the means by which proposals for expenditure in accordance with this principle can best be handled and any consequential proposals which should be submitted to the States.”103

At the actual conference in September 1951 the following significant statement was made on the citizenship status of Aborigines:

The Commonwealth and States, having assimilation as the objective of native welfare measures, desire to see all persons born in Australia enjoying full citizenship. It is also desirable that there should be uniformity throughout Australia in the enjoyment of the privileges of citizenship, and any limits which may be set on these privileges….There are at the present time in Australia many persons of aboriginal or part-aboriginal blood who are prepared for and capable of accepting the full responsibilities of citizenship. In the future, as the measures for the advancement of native welfare show results, the number of persons so qualified will increase.104

So, citizenship rights would be extended to Aborigines as and when they reached a certain level of “development.” Several initiatives took place in regard to Aborigines and citizenship over the course of the decade. At the beginning of 1954 The Courier-Mail reported that “The remaining semi-hostile aborigines in Queensland will be asked to fill in a questionnaire for the new Commonwealth-wide Census.” It added that “the Queensland Federal Electoral Officer (Mr. E. S. Olsen) said that Torres Strait Islanders would be included also….Every possible attempt will be made to seek further data on our natives, if they are willing to co-operate.”105 The State Returned Serviceman’s League in Queensland also publicly declared its support for full citizenship rights for all Aboriginal ex-servicemen. The view expressed was that if an Aboriginal person was good enough to serve his country then he deserved to be given full citizenship rights as well.106 The West Australian drew attention to plans by the Trade Union movement to include Aborigines in their ranks: “The way is now open for Northern Territory aborigines to become unionists….The Amalgamated Engineering Union at a conference with the Administrator (Mr. Wise) and Administration officials agreed to admit natives and to lower education standards for apprentices.”107 Therefore, there was a growing cross-section of Australian society that was vocalising its support for Aborigines to be awarded citizenship rights just like other Australians.

A few years later, in 1957, the General Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, T. Dougherty, expressed his support for an improvement in the←30 | 31→ conditions of Aborigines to Lady Jessie Street, who was affiliated with the Anti-Slavery League of the UK, and who in many ways had dedicated her life to improving the status and conditions of Aborigines:

I am sure the children of Australia’s oldest inhabitants do not know that many of them who are working on pastoral properties are entitled to award rates and conditions and, of course, the main exploiters of them in this country, the big pastoralists, will not go to the trouble to inform them of their rights….The A.W.U. will continue to do anything possible to improve the wage standards and conditions of all aborigines, as its officials and members, along with all other decent thinking people throughout the Commonwealth, believe that the injustices and shocking treatment, which has been the lot of the Aborigines and has been a blot on Australia’s history for far too long, SHOULD BE REMOVED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.108

So, there was growing pressure upon the Commonwealth government in the 1950s from a range of sources to improve the situation of Aborigines across the country so that they could exercise the full rights of Australian citizenship. However, one argument that the government made repeatedly was that it did not have power to legislate for Aborigines outside of the Northern Territory. There was then agitation for this constitutional arrangement to be changed. In response to one particular exhortation by Mr. Joske in May 1957, Hasluck gave the following reply:

Most of the practical work which can be done to advance the welfare of the native people has to be done in the States by State Departments, such as the Department of Education, Department of Lands, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, the Housing Commission, The Department of Justice, the Child Welfare Department, and so on. Even if the powers were transferred to the Commonwealth, it would still be necessary for the Commonwealth to use State instrumentalities in any practical efforts it made to assist the aborigines.109

Lady Jessie Street attempted to counter Hasluck’s argument by approaching Don Dunstan, then a member of the South Australian Legislative Assembly (and future Premier of the state) that same month: “I am inclined to think that if we can get the different States to amend their laws concerning aboriginals to bring them in line with the status and conditions of aboriginals in the Northern Territory, we will establish uniformity of treatment of aborigines and pave the way for the Commonwealth amendment of the Constitution.”110

Pressure continued to be applied upon the Commonwealth government, as illustrated by a letter sent to Hasluck at the end of 1957 by W. W. Greenridge, Director of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society:←31 | 32→

The Conference of Federal and State Ministers on Native Welfare, held in Canberra in 1951, agreed that the common goal throughout Australia, should be to give the aborigines the same opportunities, rights, privileges and status as Australians of European race. In pursuance of that decision the Native Welfare Ordinance was passed, which purported to give them citizenship, but it contains a provision enabling their citizenship to be suspended by declaring them “wards.”111

Aside from this notable criticism, Greenridge also made several other recommendations, drawing on a comprehensive study undertaken by Street:

Lady Street has suggested that the aborigines should be taught the basic principles of democracy by making it possible for them to elect representatives to the Native Welfare Councils. We support that recommendation. She noticed that…at cattle and sheep stations Child Endowment for aborigine children was paid to the Managers of the stations instead of to the parents of the child. We feel that steps should be taken to acquaint the aborigines of their rights and to assist them in enforcing them, and that Child Endowment should be paid to the persons entitled to it.112

The Society attempted to keep Hasluck on side by saying that they had been “encouraged to make these suggestions to you by your sympathetic replies to previous communications, and we hope that you will not interpret our remarks as criticism….We only desire to co-operate with you in improving the lot of the aborigine, and are well aware of what you have done to ameliorate their lot already.”113 Tim Rowse argued that Hasluck once maintained that Indigenous Australians had always been citizens. Instead, he asserted, they were citizens to whom additional laws, some supportive, many damaging, had been applied. Hasluck did not regard initiatives to improve the conditions of Aborigines as the granting of “citizenship” to Indigenous people. Reformers, he maintained, should stop calling for Indigenous Australians to be “granted” citizenship.114

Awarding of the Right to Vote to Aborigines in 1961

There was considerable pressure on the government from various lobby groups to give Aborigines the vote for the federal franchise. One of the most vocal lobbyists was Lady Jessie Street. In a letter to Prime Minister Robert Menzies in early 1960 she placed the refusal of the Australian government to give Aborigines the vote in a broader international context:

Canada is giving their Indians the vote; I enclose a copy of the Canadian Bill….It seems that the Governments of Australia, South Africa, the U.S.A. and Portugal←32 | 33→ are the only ones who have not changed their attitude and still deny political rights to their coloured people….In view of these developments I am writing to ask you to consider reviewing our Australian policy towards our Aborigines. I believe that all adult Aborigines should be given full political rights….I feel most humiliated that Australia should be regarded as so backward in her treatment of her native people.115

President of the Western Australian Native Welfare Council, E. C. Gare, also wrote to Menzies in late 1960, adding to the pressure with some very effective constitutional arguments:

My Council has requested me to submit for the consideration of your Cabinet, a proposal that an amendment be made to the Commonwealth Electoral Act for the purpose of allowing Australian Aborigines to enrol and vote for the Federal Parliament….As the Commonwealth Government is prohibited from making Special laws for the people of the Aborigine race it would seem that that race should come within the jurisdiction of all laws common to other Australians and there should be no discrimination against Aborigines in any way by special law. If this argument holds, it is unconstitutional to exclude aborigines from voting for Commonwealth Parliament.116

Acting Secretary of the Department of Territories, J. E. Willoughby, wrote to the Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department in early 1961 about Gare’s letter:

The legality of the proposals by the Chairman of the Western Australia Native Welfare Council is for decision by the Attorney-General’s Department. It would seem however, that a more positive approach, and one more in keeping with the present development of aborigines throughout Australia, could be made by the State adopting common standards in relation to definition, exemption and control.117

However, Alexander Downer, in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister, only conceded to Gare that there appeared to be no constitutional impediment to the revision of the Commonwealth Electoral Act that he suggested.118

Gare, though, followed up his letter with a further one to Menzies in April 1961 in which he maintained that “the Commonwealth has a duty to see that all persons born in Australia are full and free citizens of the Commonwealth and entitled to vote for Commonwealth elections irrespective of any State law as to State Electoral enrolment.” And he hoped that “early action can be taken to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act so as to remove this injustice against Aborigines.”119 Downer replied to him again in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister a few months later:

As previously stated, I am advised that the Constitution places no bar on the Commonwealth Parliament allowing the enrolment and voting of aborigines. Whilst I←33 | 34→ would not agree that the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act which at present prevent certain aborigines from voting are contrary to section 51 (xxvii.) of the Constitution, I would agree that there is nothing in section 51 (xxvii.) to prevent the Commonwealth from extending the Commonwealth franchise to all aborigines, if it should be desired to do this as a matter of policy.120

In actual fact, at the instigation of the Minister for the Interior, the government had already agreed that a select committee be appointed to look into and report back on whether the right to registration and the franchise currently awarded by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918–1953 on individuals mentioned in section 39 of that legislation should be expanded with or without conditions, restrictions, or qualifications to all aboriginal groups of Australia; aboriginal groups of Australia grouped in specific categories, and if so, what categories; and if so, the adjustments, if any, that should be made to the clauses of that legislation regarding registration or the franchise.121 The Committee gathered evidence and deliberated for several months. The constitutional expert, K. H. Bailey, corresponded with the committee towards the end of 1961. One of his most significant comments related to Section 51 (xxvi.) of the constitution:

The words “other than the aboriginal race in any State” contained in Section 51 (xxvi.) often give rise to misunderstanding because they are read as constituting a limitation upon the powers of the Parliament to make laws generally. The true position is, however, that they constitute a limitation only upon the power to make “special” laws with respect to “the people of any race”—that is, upon the power contained in section 51 (xxvi.) itself.122

The Report of the Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aborigines was subsequently tabled in Parliament on 19 October 1961. The major recommendations were that the Commonwealth Electoral Act should be revised to allow for: all aborigines of voting age to be awarded the franchise; registration should be voluntary but exercising the franchise should be compulsory for aborigines who were registered; early administrative action should take place to make registration and exercising the franchise compulsory for aborigines in New South Wales and Queensland as these aborigines had long been a part of the Australian community; and Aborigines who were entitled to be registered and to exercise the franchise should be informed of their right.123

Press reaction to the report was generally extremely positive, with The Canberra Times remarking that “Few Parliamentary reports have had more human warmth than that of the Select Committee on Voting Rights for Aborigines which has recommended that the right to vote at all Commonwealth elections be accorded to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander subjects of←34 | 35→ the Queen.”124 The Sydney Morning Herald hoped “that the Federal Government will accept the committee’s view and, in due course, legislate accordingly.”125 The Age added that Aborigines “Unlike women…have no suffragette movement to press their case, but joint committee of the House of Representatives has surveyed their case with a calm, unprejudiced eye, and recommended without qualifications they should enjoy the same voting rights as white Australians.”126 The West Australian related the report to the situation in Western Australia: “Though the committee was confined to consideration of the franchise, its conclusions in reaching unanimous finding that all aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders be given the right to a Federal vote carry the conviction that all natives should have full citizenship.”127

Increasing overseas interest in the plight of the Aborigines was communicated in a telegram from the Department of External Affairs to all posts at the beginning of 1962:

Overseas interest in the Aborigines is still small, but it has increased during the past year, and could rapidly increase still further, particularly in countries whose policies are greatly influenced by racial discrimination. As the number of colonial dependencies diminishes, the scope of anti-colonist attacks will become increasingly restricted, and political agitators in Asia, Africa and Latin America are likely to indulge instead in emotional criticism of other countries’ domestic policies, especially where these appear to involve discrimination by white people against coloured people.128

Thus, overseas interest in the Australian government’s policies towards its Aborigines was becoming a growing concern.

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aborigines and agreed that the Electoral Act should be revised to: give Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of voting age the right to register and exercise the franchise; make exercising the franchise after registering, but not registering itself, compulsory for them; and make the exercise of pressure or undue influence, in relation to registration, an offence on top of the current offence in relation to exercising the franchise.129 In April 1962 the West Australian emphasised the significance of the legislative changes based on this decision: “The Bill to extend Federal voting rights to all Australian aborigines is a landmark in post-Federation history….It can now be only a matter of time before natives in all parts of Australia are given the right to vote at State as well as Federal elections.”130 But the following month Lady Jessie Street took a contrary, much more critical view:

Gestures are being made of appointing Select Committees, amending laws and regulations…to give the appearance of removing discriminations against aborigines, but the basis of these discriminations, sections 127131 and 51 (xxvi) remains. While←35 | 36→ aborigines have not the constitutional status and rights of full citizens they will be victims of discrimination.132

Repeal and amendment of these sections was the basis of the 1967 referendum.

The 1967 Referendum

There is some considerable historiographical debate surrounding the significance of the 1967 referendum. The referendum ultimately sought to repeal Section 127 of the constitution and repeal the words “other than the Aboriginal race in any State” from Section 51 (xxvi). According to Rowse, “The common narration of the 1967 referendum is to exaggerate its benefits, declaring it to be the moment when Aborigines attained ‘citizenship’….This is strictly speaking, a misconception.”133 Nevertheless, he does concede that the amendment of the Constitution in the 1967 referendum is regularly reflected upon by Aborigines of a younger generation as the point at which Aboriginal people were “granted citizenship.”134 Bain Attwood and Andrew Markus went even further and maintained that “The 1967 referendum to alter Australia’s Constitution is now seen as an event that marked a major turning point in Aboriginal-European relations in Australia.”135 Terry Widders and Greg Noble argued, though, that “The supposed coming into political existence of indigenous people through the 1967 referendum, as it had been mythologised in white history, has by no means been a democratic panacea, and nor has it been seen as such by indigenous people.”136 Christine Flether contrarily asserted that “The 1967 constitutional referendum was the turning point in Aboriginal affairs—a watershed in their cultural and political freedoms.”137 And Michael Dodson stated that “The 1967 referendum, at least in principle, lifted many of the formal and overt forms of discrimination….Citizenship provided a ticket of entry into the political system.”138 My own opinion is that though its practical effect is certainly debatable, its symbolic value was extremely important.

Government moves towards considering constitutional amendments regarding Aborigines began in early 1965 with a Cabinet Submission by the Attorney-General, Billy Snedden:

There would assuredly be international approbation of any move to repeal section 127, as it savours of racial discrimination. Its repeal could remove a possible source of misconstruction in the international field….I think also that the average elector would feel that either the Commonwealth should have the power in sec←36 | 37→tion 51 (xxvi) in relation to all races, including people of the aboriginal race or ought not to have the power at all; and I believe the failure to include a proposal to delete the underlined parts might well prejudice the success of a referendum that wants the repeal of section 127.139

However, the Cabinet only agreed to the abolition of Section 127 of the Constitution being put to referendum simultaneously as the question of the nexus.140,141

This led to pressure being applied on the government by New South Wales State Secretary of FCAATSI, Faith Bandler, on 30 April 1965. FCAATSI was the leading organisation calling for constitutional amendments regarding Aborigines,142 and Bandler was a particularly passionate and conscientious advocate of the organisation:

A Referendum to amend the Commonwealth Constitution will be held later this year and the Government has already agreed to include in this the repeal of Section 127 which discriminates against Aborigines by excluding them from the census. However there is another section of the Constitution which also discriminates against Aborigines and the Government is still hesitant as to whether or not to include repeal of Section 51 Clause xxvi in the forthcoming Referendum.143

Snedden attempted to secure Cabinet agreement to have the words “other than the aboriginal race in any State” removed from the Constitution again on 23 August 1965,144 but the Cabinet once again refused to support this.145 A few months later, the Sydney Morning Herald questioned whether the proposed referendum went far enough as “it will still leave the Commonwealth Government without any direct responsibility for Aboriginal advancement outside the Northern Territory, and it will still leave power of ‘discrimination’ in the hands of the various States.”146 Mrs. L. Lippmann, Convenor of the Legislative Reform Committee of FCAATSI, commented in a letter to Snedden early the following year that it appeared likely that proposals for the inclusion of the amendment of Section 51, Placitum xxvi of the Constitution would be put before Parliament. And she emphasised the importance of this initiative, which would enable FCAATSI and other organisations working for the advancement of Aborigines to vociferously campaign for the referendum proposals.147 Her enthusiasm was most likely due to Menzies’ successor as Prime Minister, Harold Holt, taking office just a few weeks earlier. He was considered more receptive to including the second proposal on Section 51 (xxvi), and consequently announced a few weeks later that the government had decided not to hold the proposed referendum (which included only the one proposal) that year.148←37 | 38→

It was left to the new Attorney-General, Nigel Bowen, to raise the issue again at the beginning of 1967. He argued in a Cabinet Submission that:

The Government announce that it will hold a referendum to seek legislative power for the Commonwealth with respect to aborigines by omitting the words “other than the aboriginal race in any State” from section 51(xxvi.) and, if the referendum is successful, will hold discussion with the States to formulate a joint policy whereby the States will be responsible for administration, but the Commonwealth will have a role of policy participation.149

The Cabinet finally agreed to this course of action the following month.150 Holt announced the government’s intention to include two proposals concerning Aborigines in a constitutional referendum very soon after: “Our intention, Mr. Speaker, is to put through the necessary legislation relating to these proposals as soon as practicable….I expect it to be introduced in this House within the next week or two….We proposed to have the measures passed by the two Houses as expeditiously as possible.”151 The Leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam, expressed the Opposition’s support for both measures.152 The Sydney Morning Herald explained the government’s shift in position as a reaction to the persuasive arguments made by William Wentworth, a government backbencher who had introduced a Private Members Bill along similar lines the previous year.153

FCAATSI immediately swung into action. It published several information pamphlets to promote a “Yes” vote for the two Aboriginal proposals in the upcoming referendum.154 It is no exaggeration to say that FCAATSI’s extensive campaigning was the reason for the success of the Aboriginal proposals in the referendum on 27 May 1967. An illustration of this is an expose on Bandler in The Australian Women’s Weekly in May 1967. She maintained that “A Yes vote will mean that the Aboriginal people can come under Commonwealth law….Aborigines are the only Australians who live under six separate laws, one for each State….The eyes of the world are on Australia and her handling of black Australians….Not only Asia is watching but Africa and the whole Western world.”155 The general press reaction to the Aboriginal referendum proposals was overwhelmingly positive.156 A few days before the referendum Bandler drew attention to the public confusion on the Aboriginal issue in the Sydney Morning Herald. She pointed out that many Australians thought a “Yes” victory on the Aboriginal question in the referendum would give Aborigines the vote—whereas in actual fact they already had this. Bandler laid the blame for this confusion firmly at the doorsteps of the federal government and political parties, as they had not played much of a role←38 | 39→ at all in the campaign. She suggested that perhaps the government thought the Aborigines question would assist it in also securing support on the nexus question. Bandler showed this through the fact that the fifteen-page pamphlet which the Commonwealth government handed out to all voters included only two and a half pages on the Aborigines question.157

In the actual event there was an overwhelming majority in support of the constitutional amendments in regard to Aborigines—over 90 per cent (the biggest Yes vote in the history of federal plebiscites)––whereas the nexus proposal failed dismally.158 Nevertheless, The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that it was depressing that the largest No vote was recorded in parts of Australia where the question had real impact—in other words, in places where there were Aborigines to resent and to be prejudiced about: “The No vote was worst in the three States—Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland—that have been most criticised for their treatment of the remaining Aboriginal population.”159

After the 1967 referendum the federal government was reluctant to act on its new authority to legislate for Aborigines.160 The federal government set up an Office of Aboriginal Affairs after the 1967 referendum, but there was little substantive change until the new government in 1972.161 Hence, Attwood and Markus concluded “that the government’s belated decision to conduct the referendum was a rather uninterested, even cynical, one that had little if anything to do with any program of change in Aboriginal affairs, and much more to do with maintaining the status quo, shoring up the government’s position at home, and bolstering Australia’s image abroad.”162 But as well as allowing the Whitlam government in 1972 to enter the policy field, the successful referendum also put pressure on the subsequent Fraser government to stand up to the Queensland and Western Australia state governments. In this sense, its practical impact was important in the longer term.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1960s–1970s

A recurrent theme in terms of Aboriginal policy during the 1960s and 1970s was whether Australia would sign and subsequently ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. A survey was undertaken by an Inter-Departmental Committee on Racial Discrimination to determine which parts of Australia’s existing legislation←39 | 40→ contravened the convention as it currently stood. The results of the survey were outlined in April 1964: “The survey has disclosed that there are still remaining a number of discriminatory provisions, but in most cases these provisions are being reviewed by the Departments concerned.” In making recommendations, the Committee took into account “the pressures for the removal of racial discrimination that have developed, both within Australia and internationally, and Australia’s vulnerability on this issue from an international viewpoint.” One of the key recommendations of the Committee was that “action be taken for the removal, wherever practicable, of discrimination on grounds of race in Commonwealth Acts and Regulations, Ordinance of the mainland Territories and practices thereunder.”163

The main obstacles to Australia’s signing of the convention were highlighted in a memorandum later that year:

There is some legislation in external territories which could be described as discriminatory; the Commonwealth imposes restrictions on the right of Aborigines to leave Australia; Aborigines do not everywhere have the same political rights as “other” Australians; and it is apparent that Aborigines working in the pastoral industries often receive lower remuneration than other pastoral workers.164

The following year the Attorney-General’s Department stressed to the Prime Minister’s Department the importance of the issue of racial discrimination in current international times: “The question of racial discrimination, in present world circumstances, is a particularly important one and it is essential that the Australian government should be able to speak authoritatively in this matter in relation to the substantive articles of the Convention.” However, it drew attention to one of the main problems that Australia faced in this regard: “At present, the Commonwealth Government cannot speak with full knowledge of the situation in Australia because many of the provisions of the draft convention concern matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the States.”165 This was an issue that came up repeatedly when the subject was discussed.

The damage that discrimination, real or even perceived, could do to Australia’s international reputation was eluded to later in the year: “Any stories emanating from Australia which suggest that racial discrimination existed—either in law or in fact—were regarded as noteworthy in other countries and could conceivably form the basis for a campaign should the Communists or others decide deliberately to provoke difficulties for us.”166 An example of this was the perception that was given in a publication actually produced by the Australian government about its Aboriginal population:←40 | 41→

The opening paragraph of “Aborigines in the Community” reads as follows: “The Commonwealth Constitution declares that the responsibility for aborigines within State boundaries was a matter for the sovereign States and excluded them from the census.” This bold statement would not mean much to non-Australians who are not well acquainted with the Federal relationship between the Commonwealth Government of Australia and the State Governments. All that the external reader would learn from this sentence would be that Australian aborigines were excluded from the official Australian census and the only impression which this could leave would be that in Australia aborigines were regarded as not fully equal with other Australian citizens.167

This all contributed to Australia ultimately supporting the adoption of the Convention at the end of 1965, despite having some reservations on certain aspects of it.168

When it came to Australia actually signing the Convention, it was certainly influenced by what Aotearoa New Zealand and Canada were doing, as they all also had Indigenous populations. Australia’s High Commission in Wellington commented in April 1966 that:

Speaking generally, I do not think New Zealand has anything to fear from any scrutiny of race relations in this country….It would be idle to deny that there are isolated incidents of discrimination, but they are, in my opinion, of little importance….This being so, there should be no reason why New Zealand should not be a party to suitable convention on racial discrimination.169

And word was received from the Australian High Commission in Ottawa a few months later that Canada had signed the Convention, subject to ratification:

The Secretary of State for External Affairs, the Honourable Paul Martin, today announced the signature by Canada, subject to ratification, of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was approved by the twentieth session of the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution adopted unanimously on December 21, 1965. The Convention binds states which ratify it to condemn racial discrimination and to ensure the adequate protection of racial groups or individuals belonging to these groups.170

Similar to its Australian counterpart, the Canadian government made the argument that it could only ratify the Convention after consultation with the provinces, as a lot of legislation that would need to be amended to conform to the convention came under their jurisdiction.

So, a strong recommendation was subsequently made within the Department of External Affairs for Australia to also become a signatory to the Con←41 | 42→vention. It was highlighted that Aotearoa New Zealand’s Mission to the UN had strongly recommended that the Aotearoa New Zealand government do the same, and Canada had already done so.171 It was pointed out that “Our Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York favours early signature by Australia.” In particular, in September 1966 he had maintained that:

In view of the critical comment on Australia by Africans and perhaps others which is likely to arise from reference to the recent ICJ decision on the South West African issues, it would be helpful if the Australian delegation to the coming General Assembly were in a position to make a statement, perhaps in the Minister’s speech, announcing the intention of the Government to sign the convention.172

It was also emphasised that “The Australian Government is in general agreement with the purposes of the Convention and has always made clear its firm opposition to all manifestations of racial prejudice.” The government had also, especially in recent times, “actively pursued a policy aimed at removing archaic legislation involving discrimination.”173 The submission specifically recommended that:

Australia should sign the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination during the 21st Session of the United Nations General Assembly; that an appropriate occasion be taken at the discretion of the Australian delegation to the General Assembly to announce this decision; that State Governments be informed of this decision and that ratification would be dependent on consultations with them.174

Australia finally signed the convention in late 1966.175

The issue of racial discrimination garnered particular international attention in the early 1970s with South Africa’s policy of apartheid:

It is important, therefore, that we should emphasise that the policies of apartheid racial discrimination and limited franchise being followed by certain governments in southern Africa find no support in Australia. On the contrary, the Government’s policy is one of promoting an integrated Australian society looking towards political and racial equality for all, of supporting self-determination on the basis of majority rule, say for the people of Papua New Guinea, and of co-operating with the United Nations towards that end.176

The Whitlam Government which came to power in 1972 took up the issue of racial discrimination with particular vigour. An excellent demonstration of this was its intention to finally ratify the Convention in early 1973:

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Whitlam, has reaffirmed that the government was resolved to ratify the International Convention←42 | 43→ on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as soon as the necessary legislative and other measures could be completed.177

Furthermore, Whitlam said that the government had signaled its intention to introduce legislation to allow Australia to enact the convention, and this would be introduced very soon. Moreover, he added that the government’s plan to enact the convention on the elimination of racial discrimination followed initial moves adopted by Australia since last December. In addition, “Mr. Whitlam said that in order to pave the way for ratification he had sought the cooperation of the premiers of Queensland and Western Australia in giving high priority to the removal of the remaining minor pieces of discriminatory legislation in those states.”178

So, the whole issue of the adoption of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination illustrated the impact of international pressure on the Australian government to remove discrimination in its legislation. However, I would still argue that it was more willing to act on this pressure as Australia’s national identity had shifted away from Britishness to a “new nationalism.”

This chapter has shown how the end of the British World and its replacement with a “new nationalism” led to a redefinition of citizenship in Australia between the 1950s and 1970s. The UK’s first application for entry into the EEC in 1961 and the announcement of its military withdrawal from “East of Suez” in 1967 were particular highlights which signaled the end of the British self-identification of Australia. Through focusing on the Nationality and Citizenship Acts of 1955 and 1960, the Citizenship Act of 1969, and the Australian Citizenship Act of 1973, the chapter has demonstrated how non-British migrants were gradually put on a much more equal basis to their British counterparts in being able to attain Australian citizenship and exercise the benefits of Australian citizenship, such as employment in the Public Service. It has also illustrated how Aboriginal policy during the 1950s, the awarding of the right to vote for Aborigines in 1961, the 1967 Referendum, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination during the 1960s and 1970s, collectively led to the removal of the constitutional discriminations against Aborigines and actually allowed them to exercise the rights of Australian citizenship which they had theoretically held since 1948. I will now turn to exploring the end of the British World and the redefinition of citizenship in Canada, in terms of both other ethnic groups and Indigenous peoples.←43 | 44→

Notes

1. The research for this chapter was conducted while I was a Visiting Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at the Australian National University. I am grateful to SPIR for all its support, both material and intellectual.

2. Kim Rubenstein, Australian Citizenship Law in Context (Pyrmont, NSW: Lawbook, 2002), 10.

3. Wayne Hudson and John Kane, “Rethinking Australian Citizenship,” in Rethinking Australian Citizenship, ed. Wayne Hudson and John Kane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 2.

4. Helen Irving, To Constitute a Nation: A Cultural History of Australia’s Constitution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 158.

5. David Dutton, Citizenship in Australia: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records (Canberra: National Archives of Australia, 1999), 17.

6. Sangeetha Pillai, “The Rights and Responsibilities of Australian Citizenship: A Legislative Analysis,” Melbourne University Law Review 37, no. 3 (January 2014), 736–85.

7. Ann-Mari Jordens, Alien to Citizen: Settling Migrants in Australia, 1945–75 (St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1997), 189. However, there was still protection for British subjects who were on the electoral roll as late as 1983 to remain on the roll, even if they were not citizens.

8. Ann-Mari Jordens, Promoting Australian Citizenship, 1949–71 (Canberra: Administration, Compliance and Governability Program, 1991), 1.

9. John Chesterman and Brian Galligan, “Indigenous Rights and Australian Citizenship,” in Individual, Community, Nation: Fifty Years of Australian Citizenship, ed. Kim Rubenstein (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly, 2000), 67.

10. Susan Dodds, “Citizenship, Justice and Indigenous Group-Specific Rights-Citizenship and Indigenous Australia,” Citizenship Studies 2, no. 1 (1998), 106.

11. Ann Curthoys, “An Uneasy Conversation: The Multicultural and the Indigenous,” in Race, Colour and Identity in Australia and New Zealand, eds. John Docker and Gerhard Fischer (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2000), 21.

12. The White Australia Policy which had been established in 1901 and was primarily aimed at preventing Asian immigration to Australia was very much alive and well at this time.

13. For more on the British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1948 see Mann, “The Evolution of Commonwealth Citizenship, 1945–48 in Canada, Britain and Australia,” 293–313.

14. This was a crisis precipitated by the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in July 1956, which in turn led to the UK and France, who had substantial commercial interests in the canal, entering into a clandestine agreement with Israel to invade Egypt in October 1956, thus giving the two powers the opportunity to in turn send troops into the canal zone on the pretext of “separating the warring parties.”

15. For more on the prevalence of Britishness in Australia at this time see Jatinder Mann, The Search for a New National Identity, Chapter 4. It should be emphasised, however, that Australia’s Britishness was not a sign of inferiority, rather, Australian Britons saw themselves as superior to those in the “mother-country.” It was argued that the extreme Australian←44 | 45→ climate, the exigencies of colonial life, and a better diet had produced a stronger and fitter British population in the Antipodes.

16. Ward, Australia and the British Embrace, 69, 70.

17. Ibid., 71, 79.

18. Ibid., 81, 85, 86, 88.

19. Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), August 2, 1961, cited in Ward, Australia and the British Embrace, 89.

20. Mann, ‘“Leavening British Traditions,”’ 49.

21. Ibid., 49–50.

22. Ibid., 50.

23. Ibid., 53.

24. Ibid.

25. NLA, MS 6690/Series 12/Box 40/File 22: Immigration Advisory Council, Extract from Sunday Australian, 13 February 1972, “Pride and Prejudice,” 8.

26. Mann, ‘“Leavening British Traditions,”’ 54, 55, 62.

27. NAA, A432 1961/3191, Sidney W. Smith to Prime Minister R. G. Menzies, 8 July 1954.

28. NAA A432 1961/3191, Memorandum by T. H. E. Heyes, Secretary, Department of Immigration for the Minister—“Question of How Australians May Describe Their National Status,” July 1954, 1.

29. Ibid., 3.

30. NAA, A432 1961/3191, A. S. Brown, Secretary, Prime Minister’s Department to S. W. Smith, 23 August 1954.

31. Australian Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives (H of R), vol. 4, 1954, 18 August 1954, Governor-General’s Speech, 383.

32. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 4, 1954, 24 August 1954, Albert Thompson, 532.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid., Howard Beale, 532.

35. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 4, 1954, 14 September 1954, Alan Bird, 1218.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid., 1218–19.

38. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 5, 1954, 27 October 1954, Harold Holt, 2356.

39. NAA A446 1965/45441, T. H. E. Heyes, Secretary, Department of Immigration to The Minister for Immigration, 10 November 1954, 1.

40. NAA A446 1965/45441, Cabinet Submission 163 by H. E. Holt, Minister for Immigration, 5.

41. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 6, 1954–55, 21 April 1955, Harold Holt, 105.

42. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 6, 1954–55, 21 April 1955, Arthur Calwell, 106, 107.

43. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 6, 1954–55, 21 April 1955, Percy Clarey, 114.←45 | 46→

44. Ibid., 115.

45. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, vol. 6, 1954–55, 21 April 1955, Alan Bird, 129.

46. NAA A463 1957/2783, Outward Cablegram from Department of External Affairs to Australian Embassy, The Hague, 18 July 1957.

47. NAA A5840 507, Notes on Cabinet Submission No. 981—Grounds for Depriving Naturalised Persons of Australian Citizenship, 17 January 1958, 1.

48. NAA A5840 507, Memorandum by Athol Townley, Minister for Immigration on “Amendment of Nationality and Citizenship Act—Grounds for Depriving Naturalised Persons of Australian Citizenship (including Appendices).

49. NAA A463 1957/3309, Speech at Opening of Citizenship Convention by Athol Townley, Minister for Immigration, 21 January 1958, 29.

50. NAA A446 1965/46671, T. H. E. Heyes, Secretary, Department of Immigration to The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 7 November 1958.

51. NAA A446 1965/46671, R. P. Thompson, Second Secretary, Australian High Commission, Ottawa to The Secretary, Department of External Affairs (including copy of statement by Hon. Ellen L. Fairclough, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration), 12 December 1958, 8.

52. NAA A446 1965/46671, T. H. E. Heyes, Secretary, Department of Immigration to The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 15 January 1959, 12.

53. NAA A446 1965/46671, T. H. E. Heyes, Secretary, Department of Immigration to The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 23 August 1960, 22.

54. NAA A446 1965/46671, R. P. Thompson, Second Secretary, Australian High Commission, Ottawa to The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 7 September 1960, 1.

55. NAA A432 1960/1196, Nationality and Citizenship Bill 1960—Memorandum by Parliamentary Draftsman, 17 October 1960, 1.

56. NAA A432 1960/1196, Memorandum for Cabinet by A. R. Downer—Proposed amendments to Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1.

57. Ibid., 2.

58. Ibid., 3.

59. Ibid., 4.

60. NAA A446 1965/45472, Press Statement by the Minister for Immigration (The Hon. A. R. Downer M. P.)—Citizenship applications simplified, Canberra, 18 December 1960, 1.

61. Ibid., 2.

62. NAA A446 1965/45472, Notes on Citizenship Bill.

63. Davidson, From Subject to Citizen, 88.

64. Some of the changes in the Citizenship Act of 1969 were most certainly inspired by amendments to Canadian legislation a few years earlier—this is not surprising, as the original British Nationality and Australian Citizenship Act of 1948 was modeled on the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946. The idea of citizens of other Commonwealth countries swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen of Canada was a case in point.
NAA, A446 1965/46671: Cable from Department of External Relations (following from Ottawa) to Department of Immigration, 26 January 1967, 126.

65. NAA, A446 1957/66699: Extract from West Australian, “Seeking More Citizens,” 11 December 1967.←46 | 47→

66. NAA, A446 1957/66699: G. E. Hitchins, Commonwealth Director of Migration to Peter Heydon, Secretary, Department of Immigration, 28 February 1968, 1.

67. NAA, A446 1967/72349: Departmental Committee to Review the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948–1967—Possible Amendments Discussed, and Recommendations of Amendments, 1, 3–4.

68. NAA, A446 1967/72349: Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948–1967—Inter-Departmental Discussions, 1–2.

69. NAA A446 1967/72349, P. R. Heydon, Secretary, Department of Immigration to The Minister for Immigration (including draft of proposed answer to question without notice by Mr. Ian Wilson MP), April 1968, 239.

70. Ibid., 1.

71. NAA, A446, 1967/72349: Heydon to The Minister for Immigration, May 1968, 2–3.

72. Ibid.

73. NAA, A432 1968/3377: A. C. C. Menzies, Senior Assistant Secretary (Advisings) to The Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department, 18 October 1968, 2.

74. It also again illustrated the impact of revisions to Canadian citizenship legislation on the Australian situation. In fact the Australian Department of Immigration thanked the Canadian High Commission in Canberra for providing information on the revisions to the Canadian Citizenship regulations the following month.
NAA, A446 1965/46671: G. A. Cole, for Secretary, Department of Immigration to A. R. Menzies, High Commissioner for Canada, 1 November 1968.

75. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 61, 12 November 1968, Clyde Cameron, 2730.

76. Ibid.

77. NAA, A446 1978/75530: Extract from Age—“Rewarding the triers,” 14 November 1968.

78. NAA, A446 1978/75530: Extract from Melbourne Herald—“Short Cut Citizens,” 13 November 1968.

79. NAA, A446 1978/75530: Extract from SMH—“Becoming a citizen,” 14 November 1968.

80. NAA, A446 1978/75530: Extract from Daily Telegraph—“Migrants,” 14 November 1968.

81. NAA, A446 1978/75530: Extract from Il Globo—“Thanks to Minister Snedden—Australian Citizens to be ‘less British,”’ 19 November 1968, 2.

82. NAA, A446 1969/70341: Citizenship Bill, 1969—Second Reading Speech by the Hon. B. M. Snedden, Minister for Immigration, 2.

83. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 63, 1 May 1969, Ian Wilson, 1597, 1598.

84. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 63, 13 May 1969, Arthur Calwell, 1602.
The provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1969 relating to an Australian Citizen having the status of a British subject rather than being a British subject were not proclaimed until 20 February 1973. This was because many State laws referred to people who were British subjects, it was essential therefore that each State should amend its laws before the federal provisions could be enacted. South Australia was the last to do this and thus the remaining provisions of the Act could be proclaimed.
NAA, A446 1978/75531: Citizenship Circular 1/73 by H. J. Grant (for Secretary), 9 February 1973, 1–2.

85. NAA, A446/75532: Citizenship Circular 4/73 by G. E. Hitchins (for Secretary) on “Australian Citizenship Bill 1973,” 12 April 1973, 2.←47 | 48→

86. Ibid.

87. NLA, MS 7798/Series 3/Box 40: Papers of Al Grassby—Notes on “Discrimination in Citizenship Legislation and Policy of Previous Government.”

88. NAA, A446/75532: Second Reading Speech on Citizenship Bill 1973 by the Hon. A. J. Grassby, Minister for Immigration, 1, 2.

89. Ibid., 4–5.

90. Ibid., 5–6.

91. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 83, 9 May 1973, Phillip Lynch, 1899, 1900, 1901.

92. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 83, 9 May 1973, Maxwell Oldmeadow, 1902, 1903.

93. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 83, 9 May 1973, Alexander Forbes, 1908.

94. Ibid.

95. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 83, 9 May 1973, Leonard Keogh, 1911, 1913.

96. Australian Parliamentary Debates, H of R, Vol. 83, 9 May 1973, Al Grassby, 1925, 1926.

97. Ibid., 1926.

98. NLA, MS 7798/Series 3/Box 40: Speech by Minister for Immigration, The Honourable A. J. Grassby on Australian Citizenship Bill 1973, 2.

99. “Citizenship Rights: Federal Policy On Native Affairs,” The West Australian, 2 February 1950, 22.

100. “Aborigines’ Voice,” The West Australian, 16 June 1950, 2.

101. NLA, MS 5274/Series III/Box 33/Folder 10: Memorandum for Cabinet by P. M. C. Hasluck, Minister for Territories on “Native Welfare Council,” 28 May 1951, 2.

102. Ibid., 2.

103. Ibid., 3.

104. NLA MS 5274/Series III/Box 32/Folder 2, Commonwealth and States Conference on Native Welfare, Canberra, 3–4 September 1951—Statement on Citizenship Status, 1.

105. “Aborigines in Census,” The Courier-Mail, 20 January 1954, 9.

106. “RSL Backs Aborigines,” The Courier-Mail, 14 June 1954, 3.

107. “Aborigine May Now be in Union,” The West Australian, 28 December 1954, 8.

108. NLA, MS 2683/Series 10/Box 28/Folder 23, Message received from Mr. T. Dougherty, General Secretary, Australian Workers Union, 29 April 1957.

109. NLA, MS 4695/Series 1/Folder 5275, The Rt. Hon. The Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, to Mr Joske, 2 May 1957.

110. NLA, MS 2683/Series 10/Box 27/Folder 3, Jessie M. Street to Mr. D. Dunstan, M.L.A., S.A., 22 May 1957.

111. NLA, MS 2683/Series 10/Box 27/Folder 4: W. W. Greenridge, Director, Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society to Paul Hasluck, Minister for Territories, 17 December 1957, 1.

112. Ibid., 1, 2.

113. Ibid., 2.

114. Tim Rowse, “Indigenous Citizenship,” in Rethinking Australian Citizenship, eds. Wayne Hudson and John Kane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 88, 89.←48 | 49→

115. NLA, MS 2683/Series 10/Box 27/File 7: Jessie Street to Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia, 9 March 1960, 1, 2.

116. NAA, A463 1966/793: E. C. Gare, President, W. A. Native Welfare Council Inc. to Robert Menzies, 22 November 1960, 1.
This was a reference to Section 51 (xxvi) of the constitution, which stated that the Commonwealth had the right to make special laws for all races, other than the Aboriginal race in any State.

117. NAA A463 1966/793, J. E. Willoughby, Acting Secretary, Department of Territories to The Secretary, Prime Minister’s Department, 10 January 1961, 2.

118. NAA, A432 1960/3289 PART 2: Alexander Downer, Acting Prime Minister to Gare.

119. NAA, A463 1966/793: Gare to Menzies, 8 April 1961.

120. NAA, A432 1960/3289 PART 2: Downer to Gare, 4 July 1961, 1.

121. NAA, A463 1966/793: Background Note on “Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aborigines” by Mr. J. McCusker, 8 August 1961, 2–3.

122. NAA A432 1960/3289 PART 2, K. H. Bailey to The Secretary, Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aboriginals, 6 October 1961, 1.

123. NAA, A463 1966/793: Outward Cablegram from Department of External Affairs to All Posts, 19 October 1961.

124. NAA, A1838 557/1 PART 2: Australia and Foreign Affairs—Digest of Press Opinion on report of Parliamentary Committee on voting rights for aborigines, 25 October 1961, 3.

125. Ibid., 4.

126. Ibid., 1.

127. Ibid., 3.

Details

Pages
XVI, 188
ISBN (PDF)
9781433151095
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433151101
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433151118
ISBN (Book)
9781433151088
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (July)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. XVI, 188 pp.

Biographical notes

Jatinder Mann (Author)

Jatinder Mann is Assistant Professor of History at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is the editor of Citizenship in Transnational Perspective: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and author of The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s.

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Title: Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand