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Political History of Victoria

The first Australian colony was New South Wales, founded in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip as a British Penal colony on Port Jackson, now the city of Sydney.

Initially all of Australia came under the jurisdiction of NSW. Tasmania came under separate administration as a penal colony in ???

The government attempted to constrain settlement around Sydney into the 13 counties, however settlement quickly spread beyond this artificial restriction.

The first explorers of Victoria were Hume and Hovell, after whom the Hume Freeway is named. (I am not sure of the relationship between Hume and Hovell, who were government explorers and the first settlers who were free settlers from Tasmania).

The region that is Victoria was originally settled by a group Tasmanians led by Batman who set up a village on the Yarra River. Victoria was relatively rich land and the settlement was originally agricultural in nature.

In about 1850 (?) Gold was discovered at Ballarat, subsequently at Bendigo and at later at many sites around the state. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. Victoria grew rapidly and was granted independence from NSW.

In 18?? there was an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria by miners protesting against mining taxes ("The Eureka Stockade"). This was crushed by British troops but some of the leaders of the rebellion subsequently became members of the Victoria Parliament and the rebellion is regarded as a pivotal moment in the development of Australia democracy.

Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particulary strong at Bendigo. There did not seem to be the anti-chinese violence that was seen at the Massacre of Lambing Flat in NSW. There was however (need to reference this) a Massacre in the Buckland Valley. There was also a massive outbreak of Typhoid of in the Buckland valley that killed over 1000 miners (also check this please).

George Augustus Constantine Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby was governor during 18791884.

The first foreign military action by the colony of Victoria (and Australia I think) was to send troops and a warships to New Zealand as part of the Maori Wars.

In 1901 Victoria ceased to be an independent colony and became a state in the commonwealth of Australia. Victorian and Tasmanian policitians were particularly active in this process.

As a result of the Gold, Melbourne became the financial Centre of Australia and New Zealand. For a time Melbourne was capital of Australia and was the largest city in Australia. Melbourne remains an important financial centre but since about 1970 Sydney has overtaken Melbourne both in size and financial importance.

Notable Victoria political figures: Catholic Archbishop [[Daniel Mannix[[ (opponent of Conscription in World War I)

William Morris Hughes (he was Victoria wasn't he??) - controversial Australian Prime Minister in World War I.

John Wren - notorious bookmaker, underworld figure and politician. The famous novel "Power without Glory" by Frank Hardy as based on his exploits. Attempts (unsuccessful I think) were made to suppress the novel on the grounds of libel.

Robert Menzies: Ballarat boy who became was Australians longest serving Prime Minister in the 1950 and 1960s. Remembered for anti-communism, extreme devotion to the Queen and Empire, and a for period of particular prosperity and a sense of well-being and stability in Australia.

Henry Bolte[?]: Conservative populist Premier responsible for the last judicial execution (hanging of Ronald Ryan in 1967)

Jeff Kennett: Conservative populist Premier. He was one of the most aggressive proponents of privatisation in the world, who was inspired by, but went beyond Margaret Thatcher. Roads, prisons, power, Hospitals, trams and railways were privatised. He massively reduced Victoria public debt but his aggressive reforms led to a surprise electoral loss in 1999 to the current Premier (2002) Steve Bracks.

Victoria has a bicameral electoral system. The lower house is composed of members of parliament who represent a single electorate. The voting system is preferential. The upper house is organised into provinces which have several (?) members per electorate. Lower house members are supposed to be elected for 4 years and upper house members for 8 but usually serve shorter terms than this due to elections being called early. The Queen of Australia has a representative called the governor who formally appoints the elected premier. In practice the governor has no real power.

The two main parties are the Labor and Liberal (the more conservative) party. Smaller parties include the Nationals (conservative), Greens, the Democrats (similar to Labor).

Premiers of Victoria

..... ?Bolte [?] - Liberal

Rupert Hamer[?] - Liberal

John Cain[?] - Labor

Joan Kirner - Labor

Jeff Kennett - Liberal

Steve Bracks - Labor

Parliament House Melbourne[?]



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