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The alternative vision : Australian republicanism


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Robertson, JM 1997 , 'The alternative vision : Australian republicanism', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Thomas Paine's call for American patriots to rise in defence of their liberty has the constraints of time and context and influenced the evolution of a distinctive Australian republican tradition. This tradition emerged initially as a counter discourse, in opposition to the dominant discourse of the Australian settlement. At least until the 1970s, the Australian settlement advanced a vision of an Australian population enjoying the virtues of responsible government while operating initially within the British empire, and subsequently, the British commonwealth. The resources of the Australian continent were assessed in terms of their potential for exploitation in the establishment of British institutions and the creation of a profitable market for British commerce in the antipodes. Australia's destiny rested within the fold of empire as a wealthy, prosperous, white and above all, British nation. A strong paternal state and an emotional attachment to empire were the two overriding themes of the Australian settlement. They remained characteristic features of Australian political development until the erosion of the settlement undermined the tradition of identifying within a British cultural context, and, almost by default, advanced the Australian republican tradition from a counter discourse almost by default, advanced the Australian republican tradition from a counter discourse to the position of dominant discourse. Consequently, in Australia today, republicanism is in the ascendency.
This project shall trace the origins and evolution of a distinctive Australian republican discourse beginning in the mid nineteenth century. It is a tradition that draws heavily upon the American republican experience, and by extension, the radical British republican tradition that J. G. A. Pocock has analysed in relation to America.' An underlying theme of this thesis is the principle that language is the means through which we make sense of, and participate in the world. Accordingly, I will draw upon Gordon Schochet's understanding of political thought as a "discursive' or 'linguistic' phenomenon" and his assessment of language, "as the primary source of historical continuity".

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Robertson, JM
Keywords: Republicanism
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Copyright 1997 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Thesis (MA)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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