Australia History since the End of the 20th Century

Australia History since the End of the 20th Century


The parliamentary elections of March 2, 1996 were won by the alliance of the Liberal and National Party; J. Howard became the new Prime Minister. The governing coalition he led was able to assert itself in the early parliamentary elections on October 3rd, 1998. In the elections in Queensland on June 13, 1998, the ultra-right party One Nation, founded in 1997, won 22.7% of the vote with its campaigns against immigration from Asia and against special services for the Aborigines. On August 26, 1999, the federal parliament in Canberra passed a resolution as a step towards reconciliation with the indigenous people, with which it regretted the injustice done to the Aborigines in previous generations; however, the government continued to refuse to apologize on behalf of the nation. In May 2000, a “reconciliation commission” submitted a reconciliation treaty to the government; at one of the largest demonstrations in the country’s history in Sydney on May 28th In 2000 the participants worked for a compromise with the Aborigines. However, the still underprivileged situation of the indigenous peoples led, among other things, to to their growing politicization (2004 founding of Your Voice, the first Aboriginal party).

After the constitutional convention in February 1998 voted for Australia’s transition from a constitutional monarchy to a republic on January 1, 2001, this project failed due to the referendum on November 6, 1999, in which only around 45% of those eligible to vote for the Abolition of the monarchy voted.

According to Abbreviationfinder, the conservative government alliance, which in 2001 attracted attention at home and abroad with its strict asylum and refugee policy, was able to win the parliamentary elections again on November 10, 2001 (Howard’s confirmation for a third term as prime minister). Against the background of a sustained economic upswing, the governing coalition of the Liberal and National Party under Prime Minister Howard finally won the fourth consecutive election victory on October 9, 2004 (so far unique in the history of Australia).

Despite massive domestic political protests and demonstrations, Prime Minister Howard supported the US-British military action against the Saddam Hussain regimein March / April 2003. At the end of 2005 the government decided to continue the military operation in Iraq alongside the USA with 900 soldiers and, at the request of the USA, to expand its engagement in Afghanistan. Regardless of mass protests, at the end of 2005 parliament passed a labor market reform that effectively suspended numerous dismissal protection regulations and agreements on vacation and breaks. In December 2005, the most serious racially motivated assaults in over a decade occurred in Sydney: Several thousand white youths, fanned by right-wing extremist groups, hunted down Arab-looking people who ultimately resorted to violence. With the help of a short-term emergency law and extended powers for the police, including to cordon off entire districts,

In the parliamentary elections on November 24, 2007, the opposition Labor Party, led by K. Rudd, achieved a clear majority.

Rudd announced inter alia. as the new head of government to withdraw the Australian troops from Iraq and to break new ground in climate protection. Rudd signed the Kyoto Protocol on the day he took office (December 3, 2007); at the same time, a new ministry for climate change and water was set up. Prime Minister Rudd apologized during a speech to the Australian Parliamenton February 13, 2008 in the name of the state with the Aborigines for the historical misconduct in dealing with the indigenous people, in particular for the consequences of the »assimilation policy« and the decades of state discrimination. In terms of immigration policy, the government ended the longstanding practice of interning asylum-seeking boat refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea as part of a “Pacific solution”. With the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq in June 2008, Rudd also kept this key election promise. In July 2008, the Australian Supreme Court granted indigenous peoples land rights along the Northern Territory coastto. In the wake of the global financial market crisis, the government issued a guarantee for private money in checking and savings accounts in 2008, but did not issue a rescue package for banks. Instead, on October 16, 2008, in view of the slowdown in the economy, it decided to take measures to strengthen mass purchasing power and promote the construction industry. In terms of immigration policy, the government ended the 2001 practice of interning boat refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea as part of a “Pacific solution”.

After internal disputes within the party (emissions trading, resource tax), Prime Minister Rudd lost the support of his party in 2010 and resigned on June 24, 2010. He was succeeded on June 24, 2010 by J. Gillard , which was the first time a woman took over the post of Australian Prime Minister.

After the elections on August 21, 2010, in which the Labor Party lost its absolute majority, Prime Minister Gillard formed a minority government. Rudd took over the office of foreign minister. On the 60th anniversary of the Anzus military alliance, Australia and the USA announced in November 2011 that they would strengthen their military cooperation (deployment of 2,500 American soldiers) against the background of China’s growing military presence in the Pacific region. During a business trip to the USA, Foreign Minister Rudd surprisingly announced his resignation on March 22, 2012. The reason he gave was that the rivalry with Prime Minister Gillard had hampered his work. Two days after his resignation, he demanded Gillard on the power struggle for the party leadership, which the head of government was able to clearly win. In the run-up to the 2013 parliamentary elections, tensions within the Labor Party increased due to poor poll results. On June 26, 2013, Prime Minister J. Gillard lost a vote of confidence for the party chairmanship against her long-time rival K. Rudd, he was sworn in on June 27, 2013 as the new head of government. In terms of refugee policy, Australia returned to the “Pacific solution”. This enabled boat refugees who were apprehended in Australian waters or who arrived in Australia to be housed again outside of Australian territory. The move met with criticism from human rights organizations. In 2013, bilateral agreements were concluded with Nauru and Papua New Guinea, in which the framework conditions for refugee policy were regulated.

In the parliamentary elections on September 7, 2013, the liberal-conservative opposition, led by T. Abbott (LP), was able to win a clear majority in the House of Representatives.

On September 18, 2013, T. Abbott took office as the new Prime Minister and formed a liberal-conservative cabinet. In terms of climate policy, the Abbott government reversed and reversed numerous climate protection measures taken by the previous government. In mid-July 2014, taxes on CO 2 emissions were abolished again. In September 2014, the government announced that it would take part militarily in the fight against the Islamic State. Against the background of falling government polls, criticism of Prime Minister T. Abbott increased within the Liberal Partyto. Finally, on September 14, 2015, the Liberal MPs withdrew their confidence in him and, in a battle vote, appointed the previous communications minister, M. Turnbull, as the new party chairman.

At M. Turnbull thus automatically dropped as prime minister, in which he was sworn in on 15 9th, 2015. After the failure of his government’s bills in the Senate, Turnbull had both chambers of parliament dissolved in May 2016 and announced new elections for July 2, 2016. In these elections, Turnbull’s governing coalition was only able to assert itself against the opposition with a narrow majority. Turnbull was sworn in again on July 19, 2016 as head of government. In August 2016, the Australian government reached an agreement with Papua New Guinea to close the refugee camp on the island of Manus, part of Papua New Guinea; in November 2017 the reception center was forcibly evacuated. Still, Australia maintained its tough stance on boat refugees.

In domestic politics, the narrow parliamentary majority of the governing coalition was in danger after resignations and the resulting by-elections until the end of 2017. The reason for this was a disregarded constitutional provision that excludes Australians with dual citizenship from political office. Bad polls for the government led to a right-wing party revolt in the Liberal Party in August 2018, which, however, did not materialize. After Turnbull’s resignation, Chancellor of the Exchequer S. Morrison became head of government as a compromise candidate on August 24, 2018. In the parliamentary elections on May 18, 2019, the liberal-national coalition government won 77 of the 151 seats in the House of Representatives. This confirmed S. Morrison in his office as Prime Minister.

In the southern summer of 2019/20, bushfires destroyed over 160,000 km² of bush and woodland. That is roughly twice the area of ​​Austria. 33 people and millions of animals died in the flames. S. Morrison has come under fire for sticking to the coal industry.

Australia History since the End of the 20th Century