Was Australia a working man's paradise in the 1900s?

Essay by boogerboy999 September 2006

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During the early 1900s in Australia, life was harsh but for those who worked effectively, they became prosperous. Australia was in fact one of the most secure and economical places to find work, that is a working man's paradise.

Australian workers were, in many ways, considered much better off than their counterparts. They were given higher wages, and much more fringe benefits. Social Security legislation passed in 1905 meant that from July 1909, people aged over 65 years were given a pension of $52 per year. New South Wales had already started paying their aged citizens a pension since Federation.

Shorter working times, workers compensation, maternity allowances, invalid pension and increased leisure time all helped create Australia as an image of a working mans paradise. Also, those who served in the Boer War were given an additional pension for their commitment.

In the 1890s, Australia experienced an economic depression, where the lower class citizens were opting to strikes for higher pay and shorter working hours.

One of the most infamous strikes was made by the Queensland shearers. This strike lasted over six months and only ended after their union leader was arrested.

The end of the shearer's strike had a big impact on the working class and Australia's political system. The unions fighting for their workers eventually resolved to political methods to try and reform the system. On August 1890, the Australian Labour Force was set up. This political group was governed by the working class and for the working class.

The Australian Labour Force introduced many laws that are still currently in power today. The force introduced a law that forced employers to limit their worker's to a 48 hour week, on a principle of 8hours work, 8 hours sleep, 8 hours rest. One...