If we want to understand Australia’s success as a modern nation, as one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies, we must look back to the origins of our institutions. Civil society, liberal democracy, constitutional government, the rule of law and individual rights are all essential features of our free society.
Institutions provide an important foundation for a society to attain its full potential. They are a legacy to this generation, passed down by those who have sought freedom of conscience, religion, speech, and the right to participate in politics and public debate.
As part of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, the Institute of Public Affairs has produced a series of short films which explain the important role that British Institutions have played in shaping our nation.
The Magna Carta in Australia
‘The Castle’ in 18th Century Australia
Australia’s own Tea Party Revolution
The Magna Carta is the founding document of individual liberty, the rule of law, and parliamentary democracy. It is the very document which planted the seeds of political freedom for all and the concept of individual rights which we enjoy in Australia today.
Just six months after the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788, one event in particular demonstrates just how important the concept of the rule of law was to the British founders of the colony of New South Wales. This is the remarkable story of two convicts, a ship’s captain and a missing package.
Wealth was not the only thing to come out of the Australian gold rush of the nineteenth century. Thanks largely to both the presence of the Chartists on the Victorian goldfields during the 1850s, and the demands they made following the Eureka Stockade, the political landscape of Australia was to change forever.