Australia’s Response to Communism in the 1950’s
The end of World War II ushered in a new error into the global politics with communism spreading faster than expected. Various countries that opposed communism reacted in different ways to curb communism influence in their territories. Communism refers to the social organization where the property and other factors of production are communally owned. Communism is common in South Asia countries like China. However, most countries in Europe, Australia, and the United States opted for capitalism. Capitalism is where the country’s economy is controlled by the private sector and the market forces. The state only acts as a market regulator. Australia responded to the spread of communism in the 1950s in various such as sending their troops to Korea, banning the formation of any communist party and finally the Austria government signed treaties with non-communist countries to help in defense (Wilkinson, 2014).
The Australia government actively participated in Korea, by sending their troops, to curb the spread of communism into the country (Albinski, 2015). South Asian countries were and are still communist countries, and their success on the South Korean would have significantly contributed to the spread of communism to other areas in the region including Australia. The fall of South East Asia would put Australia on direct threats from communist South Asia. Moreover, the participation in the war was critical for Australia as it prevented or reduced the “domino effect” that would result from the collapse South East Asia. “Domino effect” would result from the interaction of the Austria nationals with the South Asians thus influencing them to adopt communism.
The Australian government also reacted to the spread of communism in the 1950s through the banning of the formation of any communist party within the country (Maher, 2013). The then Prime Minister Robert Menzies tabled a bill in parliament that made it illegal for any Austria to become a communist or form any communist party. The law, referred to Communist Party Dissolution Bill, was intended to prevent anyone who harbors any communist ideology from spreading it or influencing the population from joining him or her (Maher, 2013). The bill stipulated that anybody who is a communist was to be barred from working with the government of joining any trade union. The Communist Party Dissolution Bill had some controversial clauses that were hugely criticized for undermining the concept of natural justice. For instance, the bill provides that if one is suspected of being a member of a communist party or supporting communism, then they were guilty until proven innocent. This law goes against the rules of natural justice that holds a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, this bill was later declared unconstitutional by the high court, and Menzie’s attempt to pass it through a referendum was narrowly defeated (Goot, 2014).
The final measure that the Australian government took to prevent the spread of communism into their territory was forming alliances with other nations such as Britain and the United States. The first treaty, ANZUS Agreement was signed in 1951, and three years later they signed the SEATO Alliance (Kelly, 2017). These two agreements ensured military support to the country, especially from the US, in an event it is attacked by the communist countries.
In conclusion, Australia had three primary responses to the spread of communism from South Asia. The three responses included; banning the formation of communist parties, sending their military in Korea and finally forming a defense alliance with friendly nations.
Albinski, H. S. (2015). Australian policies and attitudes toward China. Princeton University Press.
Kelly, A. (2017). Discordant Allies: Trans-Tasman Relations in the Aftermath of the ANZUS Treaty, 1951–1955. Journal of Australian Studies, 41(1), 81-95.
Goot, M. (2014). The “transition” from qualitative to quantitative measures of public opinion: The Australian press and the 1951 referendum on communism. Journalism Studies, 15(2), 204-217.
Maher, L. W. (2013). Dealing with the King’s Enemies: The Drafting of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950. Australian Historical Studies, 44(1), 37-53.
Wilkinson, A. E. (2014). The politics of Australian foreign aid policy 1950-1972.