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Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand

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Jatinder Mann

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.

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Chapter 4: Comparisons

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·4·

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 several 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 for 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.←143 | 144→ This chapter will draw comparisons...

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