Settler Australia in the Twentieth Century

Authored by: Sarah Maddison

The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415742160
eBook ISBN: 9781315544816
Adobe ISBN: 9781134828470


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In 1901, the six British colonies that had established themselves on terra australis were transformed into the states of the new Commonwealth of Australia. Federation created a new Australian political system, with a new constitution and a federated system of government that together constituted the settler colonial state as an independent nation. But while the colonies moved further towards independence from Britain, for the original inhabitants of the continent, federation changed little. Indeed, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia were profoundly ignored during the process of federation to the extent that mention of them was omitted from the new constitution (barring certain racist provisions discussed later in the chapter). The eliminatory logic of settler colonialism was much in evidence as a new nation set about constructing itself as though the Indigenous peoples of the land had never existed.

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