Following the elections of 1937, which confirmed the votes of 1931 and 1934, the Lyons government was able to reconstitute itself on the basis of the United Australia Party and Country Party coalition. During 1938, Japan’s war against China provoked a more intransigent reaction in the country than the government was then willing to demonstrate: the dock workers decided to boycott the goods bound for the attacking country. In the same year, in view of the difficult times that were approaching, a law on social assistance was introduced (for sickness, disability and old age). The following year Lyons died. After a short interim presidency Earle Page, ex-minister of commerce, the new cabinet was set up by RG Menzies, who, on September 3, 1939, was to declare war on Germany. The loyalty of Australians to their endangered homeland was then manifested with great vigor (see below). Among other things, compulsory military service was re-established (established in 1911 and abolished in 1929). After the 1940 elections had balanced the forces between Labor and the government coalition, which could still remain in government only by the votes of two independents, the military failures in Europe and North Africa, the threat of Japan, the first financial difficulties, and finally the disagreements that arose between the United Australia Party and the Country Party, led to the resignation of the Menzies government at the end of August 1941 and of the one constituted by the chief agrarian, AW Fadden, on 3 October. John Curtin then formed his first Labor cabinet by refusing the collaboration of the other parties and relying solely on the two votes of the independents. He considered it necessary, for a regime of true democracy, a strong opposition and harmful any division of responsibility. On December 8, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Australia went to war with Japan. This time it was not the king who declared hostilities, but the governor, at the request of the Australian parliament. At that time the port of Darwin was subjected to aerial bombardments and that of Sydney was forced by Japanese submarines, but a real danger of Japanese invasion in force was only in the fantasy excited by the overwhelming Japanese successes in Indonesia. Curtin, who had been arrested during the First World War for propaganda against conscription, was able to obtain the most intense war effort in its history from the country. The “organization” for war production, established by the Menzies government, was transformed into a ministry; a ministry for the workforce was established. At the end of 1942 a campaign was launched to reduce consumption by one third. Curtin’s appeal to the United States in March 1942, his proposals for the establishment of a stable system of cooperation among the members of the British Commonwealth (proposals which he was to renew two years later, during the Imperial Conference, in London) and those for the formation of a War Council for the Pacific, which Churchill accepted, the adoption, in October 1942, of the Statute of Westminster, which granted Australia greater autonomy and speed of decisions in the conduct of defense, finally the “Anzac” agreement with New Zealand, signed in Canberra in January 1944, with which the two countries undertook to collaborate closely for the common defense and, after the war, not to give any basis to third parties powers, were the acts of an active and intelligent foreign policy that did not fail to arouse some criticism, but in the end deserved the approval of London, of the whole Empire and of the Australian voters. These, in 1943, gave the majority to the Laborites in both chambers. Curtin died in the summer of 1945 and JB
The elections of 1946 confirmed the results of the previous ones and one of the questions posed on the extension of the powers of the Australian Commonwealth was successful (a similar referendum had failed in 1944): that relating to social assistance; the other two, on the controls of the markets of the main products and on the employment in the industries also had the majority among the voters, but not among the states. During that year, however, local elections, held mostly around the subject of the nationalization of private banks (see § Finances), ended with a series of failures for the Laborites. The influence exerted by this party was central to Australia in the war and post-war years. The strict organization, founded on the dependence of local Labor governments on conferences elected by trade unions and political leagues, and of the Australian Commonwealth government on the Federal Conference and the particular parliamentary committee called “Caucus”, although harshly criticized by the other parties, ended with to be applied, within certain limits, also by them. But if, in the constitutional field, Labor has successfully worked to strengthen the federal state, it has met with decisive resistance when it expressed its intention. For Australia political system, please check politicsezine.com.
After the war, a leadership role in the Far East sector was recognized in the Dominion by the London government (on 1 January 1948 all imperial occupying forces in Japan passed under Australian command) and the spirit of independence of Canberra politics. it also asserted itself in relations with Washington. The United States, in its action to extend control over all important Pacific islands and bases, found tenacious resistance in the Australian government. In June 1947, the commands of the two navies agreed on the continuation of periodic consultations, as during the conflict, but no concessions were made for the use or strengthening of the bases, in particular that of Manus, except on condition of absolute reciprocity. While the imperial preferential system was strengthened through the reduction of import tariffs from the United Kingdom, imports from the United States were reduced. In February 1946, Australia obtained trusteeship for New Guinea and Nauru from the UN. During the imperial conference on peace with Japan, held in Canberra in September of that year, he supported the need to demilitarize it and to limit its industries and it is to resolve differences on the subject with the Americans that the Foreign Minister, HV Evatt, had went, a few months earlier, to Tōkyō, to confer with gen. Mac Arthur. In January 1947, still in Canberra, a Commission was set up for the economic and social progress of the territories of the South-Western Pacific, of which all the powers present in the South Pacific joined. With the same intention of creating a system of countries gravitating around Australia, the support given by its representatives in the UN Security Council in August of the same year to the point of view of the young republic of Indonesia is justified., in its dispute with Holland.