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How Bob Hawke changed Australia

Rose Christmas

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Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke served as Prime Minister of Australian from the years of 1983 to 1991 and is considered one of the most influential leaders in recent history. He made major reforms that have an impact that still lingers decades later.

Let’s examine some of the biggest changes Bob Hawke made to Australia.

He floated the Australian dollar

Often cited as his most significant impact on Australia and its future, Bob Hawke floated the Australian dollar which has previously always been valued against another currency. Some have said that his move helped Australia to avoid the negative effects of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Launching Medicare

Medicate was Australia’s first universal health insurance system that was affordable and would last the test of time. Many Australian now take Medicare for granted.

He gave the Government power over the fate of World Heritage sites

Bob Hawke passed legislation that meant that Australia’s World Heritage sites could be protected by the Commonwealth. This legislation was soon followed with moves to list certain rainforests and forests in Australia was World Heritage sites.

He worked to fight against discrimination in the workforce based on gender

Bob Hawke oversaw the creation of the Sex Discrimination Act, which outlawed discrimination based on gender in the workforce. This was later followed up with other acts that further cemented anti-discrimination in the Australian workplace.

Cemented the national anthem and national colours

After a long debate amongst Australians, Bob Hawke was the one to finalise that Advance Australia Fair would be the national anthem. He also announced that the colours green and gold would be the official colours of Australia as a nation.

As you can see, Bob Hawke has had a profound and lasting legacy on Australia and his held in high regard by both sides of politics.

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Why is Pauline Hanson so divisive in Australian politics?

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Pauline Hanson

In the wacky world of Australian politics, there are few figures more divisive than Pauline Hanson, the leader of the One Nation party. Many have described Hanson and her followers as representatives of unadulterated racial hatred, while she would describe her party has ‘bringing down political correctness’.

One Nation is a political force that, love it or hate it, has stubbornly survived in Australian politics for a long time. If you don’t know about the history of the party and its leader, then you might wonder why Pauline Hanson is considered so divisive.

Pauline Hanson was dumped as a Liberal candidate due to comments she made about indigenous entitlements. She went on to win her local seat as an independent, and in her first speech in Parliament notoriously said that Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Asians”.

She also said that “a truly multicultural country can never be strong or united”. She has never apologised for these comments, which is perhaps why her supporters like her.

At the party’s peak, it had around 9% of Australia’s population supporting it. Opponents of the One Nation party have cited that the political movement is unashamedly based on racism and fearmongering about immigration.

When she returned to Parliament in 2016, her maiden speech was similar to the first except stated that the country was in danger of ‘being swamped by Muslims’. She notoriously came into Parliament one day wearing a burqa in order to push her view that the religious garment should be banned.

For many, Pauline Hanson has staying power because she is a representative of a significant portion of Australians who share her divisive views. Pauline Hanson is really just a symptom of the racism of many people in Australia.

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The legacy of John Howard

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John Howard

Ex-Prime Minister John Howard is someone who has a divided reputation at best. He is remembered fondly for some things and seemingly hated for others.

One of the biggest things in the legacy of John Howards is, without a doubt, his response to the Porth Arthur massacre. The tragic shooting (then the world’s largest mass shooting), caused the deaths of 35 people and injured 23 others.

The shooting was a traumatic moment for the Australian psyche, and it was a moment where John Howard (then only two months into his role as Prime Minister) was forced to act. John Howard acted by famously issuing a gun buyback scheme after strengthening Australia’s gun laws, specifically to prohibit the sale of military-style firearms used in the massacre.

Despite facing backlash for the move from many Australian gun owners (not the kind of group you want to annoy), Howard persevered and even attending a meeting with gun owners wearing a flak jacket. Many people who disagreed with all other elements of John Howards’ politics supported him on the issue of gun ownership.

Most Australians understood that having free access to deadly firearms that can kill large crowds was a bad idea. It was particularly supported by women who felt that their children were endangered by guns.

The reforms started by John Howard are often cited by Americans to this day in the ongoing gun debate. What was easy for Australians is a source of fierce debate amongst Americans. America’s culture with gun ownership is much different from Australia.

The most important takeaway from this development in Australian political history is that it largely worked. Australia has not suffered any gun crime on that scale since the Porth Arthur massacre.

This is without a doubt the thing John Howard is most remembered for.

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The story of Clive Palmer and his run in Australian politics

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Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer is arguably Australia’s most eccentric and public billionaire. He has made several novel investments, including funding a dinosaur theme park, a footy team, and a modern-day rebuilding of the Titanic, the ship that famously sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. Palmer made and lost most of his money in the Australian mining industry.

Palmer met his wife of 22 years while studying at the University of Queensland. They were happily married until her death in 2006 from cancer. Palmer often cites that raising his daughter without her mother has been one of his greatest ever challenges.

When he dropped out of University in 1975, Palmer went on the become a real estate tycoon and made a large sum of money pursuing property development. He capitalised on the property boom in Queensland at the time and ended up retiring from the real estate industry at only 29 years of age. He has said that he made around $40 million AUD from his property investments before leaving in 1980.

Later in the mid-80s Palmer got into the Australian mining industry, starting 3 different companies aimed at mining exploration in Western Australia. He eventually leased the most successful of these mining companies to a Chinese firm for a deal worth around $3 billion AUD.

In 2007, Palmer married his second wife Anna. Anna is 20 years younger than Clive and actually had Clive act as ‘father of the bride’ in her previous wedding. He had 2 more daughters with Anna.

In 2013 he started the ‘Palmer United Party’. He has had an interesting political career and is best known for embracing internet meme culture in his campaigns. However, this has not yielded much success for him in the end.

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