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BY GEORGE MACDONNELL
USTRALIA is situated in the southwestern corner of the Pacific ocean. The city of. Sydney, on its east coast, is about 7,000 miles from San Francisco. The area of Austra lia is slightly larger than that of the United States, while its population is only' 5,000,000. Being on the other side, of the- equator, Australia has its seasons reversed—Christmas coming in the middle of summer. A constellation of five stars in the shape of across blazes in the southern skies and for this reason Australia is often termed the land of the Southern Cross. The climate is dry and warm in the summer the temperature rises to 110 degrees and over (in some inland towns, to 135 degrees in the shade), while in the winter the temperature rarely falls much below the freezing point—in fact most Australians have never seen snow. The middle of Australia is a waterless desert and even the fertile parts are so dry that a wheat yield of 10 to 12 bushels per acre is considered a good crop. Australia is populated on a fringe around the coast, about 90 per cent of the people living within 100 miles of-the sea. Australia is especially suited for wool production and is the largest wool-exporting country in the world. A CONSTITUTION LIKE AMERICA'S Australia was first settled by convicts sent out from England in 1788, and until 1824 it was ruled as a convict settlement by a governor appointed by the British crown. In 1855 an elective parlia ment was granted to the colony of New South Wales by the British authorities. Shortly after this, parliaments were established in the colonies of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland. In 1890 a parliament was established in the colony of Western Australia. It w&s not until 1901 that the six Australian colonies were federated and a federal parliament established. The federal constitution of Australia is somewhat similar to that of the United States. The federa tion is known officially as the Commonwealth of Australia and the original six colonies are now called states. Except in regard to the declaration of war Australia now has complete self-govern ment. The first parliament of New South Wales enacted manhood suffrage and established What is known as the Australian ballot in 1858. The first Torrens land transfer and titles act was passed by the South Australian parliament in 1857. Torrens was a customs official in-South Australia. In the '50s the first government railroad was built in Australia. SIXTY YEARS AGO AUSTRA LIA INSTITUTED THE AUSTRALIAN BALLOT, THE TORRENS SYSTEM, AND GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP OF RAILROADS—reforms which have only lately been1 partially adopted in the United States. THE LABOR PARTY TO THE RESCUE Between 1860 and 1890. th£re was a dearth of further progressive legislation, and towards the end of this period it began to look as though pol itics was getting into a dirty mess. The compo sition, of the parliaments of the different colonics, was such that the great njajority of the people were not represented. The parliaments consisted: of lawyers, big landowners, "squatters" (owners of immense sheep runs), manufacturers and other representatives of big' business. In 1890 there The southern half of Australia has cli mate, products and market conditions Very similar to California. The re semblance goes farther. The two countries are peopled by the same race, and they havie the same habits, the same social and political ideals, and very similar economic conditions. Read: here what the Labor party in Australia has accomplished and see how near it is to what the National p| Nonpartisan league is planning Labor Party, Resembling the Nonpartisan League, Has Achieved State Operation of Railroads, Street Cars, Telegraphs and Coal Mines One of the few beauty spots in Australia is* the Blue mountain country, two hours by rail from Sydney. Here is shown Vera falls, Valley of "the Waters. was hot one farmer or workingman in the par liament of Queensland. But in the year 1890 a great change came over politics in Australia. In that year there was an attempt on the part of big business to stamp out trade unionism. This attempt culminated in the...." great maritime strike. This was a strike of sea men, wharf laborers and transport workers. The strike spread all over Australia and trade was brought' almost to a standstill. This strike was followed by the sheep-shearers' strike in 1891. Labor was badly beaten in both strikes and it looked as though the big business interests would be able to kill unionism. ^However, the labor unions decided to turn to politics and to run independent Labor candidates at the, parliamentary elections. A Labor party, was formed and, in the New South Wales elections of 1891, there were 36 Laborites elected in a house of 141 members. Shortly after this Labor parties', made, their appearance in each of the parliaments of the six colonies. In the' first federal elections which took place-.in 1900 there were 16 Laborites^'' NINfc elected to the house of representatives, which con sisted of 75 members. The Labor party grew so powerful that in 1909 the two old parties—the Liberals and Conserva tives—were forced to combine into what is known as the Liberal Union party. This combination was effected before the federal election of 1910. The result was that at this election the Laborites ob tained a majority in both houses. The Australian prime minister, who in a general way corresponds to the president of the United States, is for prac tical purposes elected, and subject to recall, by the federal house of representatives. The result of the 1910 federal elections was therefore that, in addition to a Labor house and a Labor senate, there was also a Labor prime minister. The power of Labor continued to grow until 1915 when there were Labor governments in power in five out of six state parliaments and in the federal parlia ment as well. HAVE CUT DOWN THE MIDDLEMEN The Australian Labor party is a party of work ingmen, small farmers, and small storekeepers. Its purpose is to include all those who work for a living as against those who employ others to do all the work while they themselves draw all the profits. TJie Labor party is constantly fighting the big interests and the useless middlemen. The Labor party seeks to abolish superfluous middle men by a program of public ownership, much of which already has been put into operation. The government—federal, state or municipal, as the case may be—owns and operates railroads, street cars, ferryboats, telegraphs and telephones, water and electric light works, banks, coal mines, steam ships, fishing trawlers, bakeries, brickworks, saw mills and hotels. The government fixes prices, hours of labor, wages and house rents makes clothes and agricultural implements runs cold storage plants and markets, stockyards and slaughter houses sells fish, meat and dairy prod ucts supplies seed wheat provides old age pen sions lends .money at cheap rates to farmers and workers^ Of course not all of these things are exclusively controlled and owned by the govern ments, as for instance, there are still private banks in competition with the government banks. From this list of accomplishments it will be seen that the Labor party has PUT INTO AC TUAL PRACTICE MANY OF THE PLANKS OF THE PLATFORM OF THE NONPARTISAN LEAGUE. When a farmer is told that certain of the planks in the League platform are "visionary," all he need do is to reply that much of the League's program is already in operation in Australia. THE MORE PUBLIC OWNERSHIP THE AUSTRA LIAN, PEOPLE HAVE THE MORE THEY SEEM TO WANT. At the present time the Labor govern ment in the state of Queensland is introducing legislation to give the people state life insurance, the pepple already having state fire and accident insurance. ALL SIGN THE PLATFORM The Australian Labor party is financed and controlled by the men who vote the party ticket at the parliamentary elections. The basis of the party organization is the local or district political labor league. All trade unions in an election dis trict wishing tp join become affiliated with the,, labor league. Supporters of the Labor party," who are not members of a union, may become direct members of the labor league on payment of the Among the great nations only Great Britain and the United States are still under the system of private ownership of railroads, though the war has driven both of them to assume control of operation. Ih Australia, as well as in all other countries, the question of government ownership has been set tled ih the affirmative. The time has come in America to take over this monopoly, reduce rates and put the railroads out of politics.