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The Australian Navy – “The Light on the Hill” – Ross McMullin

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Australian, Australian Labor Party, Australiana, History, Politics, Security Policy, WW1

In Australia the hysteria and insecurity (over the German military build up) were, if anything, even more pronounced. There were emotional demands, orchestrated by the Age and Argus in particular, that Australia must help restore Britain’s superiority in dreadnoughts by donating one (as the New Zealand government did immediately). There were subscription lists of donors, animated meetings and emphatic resolutions; the conservative governments of Victoria and NSW offered to provide a dreadnought between them if the national government refused to do its ‘duty’’; the Governor-General added some private lobbying of his own. (Prime Minister) Fischer refused to be hustled: Labor’s policy was to create an Australian navy, not send money to England to strengthen theirs. Some years earlier Labor had been mocked when it first advocated an Australian navy; now (Defence Minister) Pearce set this in motion by authorising the construction of three destroyers.

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