‘Democratic opposition to war: the 1916-17 anti-conscription campaigns – impacts and legacies (Keynote address, Brunswick-Coburg Anti-Conscription Commemoration Campaign Conference, 20 May 2017)’, Honest History, 13 June 2017
This one day conference addressed a number of aspects of the battle against conscription 1916-17. Barry Jones’ keynote address outlines the basic chronology, mentions the state of Australia before and after the war, summarises the two votes, and describes how Prime Minister Hughes’ tactics during and after the referendum campaigns led to the long-term debauching of Australian politics. As for World War I, far from creating Australia as a nation, Jones believes it ‘knocked the stuffing out of’ the country.
For more on conscription during the Great War, see our ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series and the recent book edited by Archer, Damousi, Goot and Scalmer.
Barry Jones AC was a state and federal Labor MP, Commonwealth Minister and National President of the ALP. He has written a number of books and is one of the National Trust’s Australian Living Treasures. He is the only person to have been elected as a Fellow of all four Australian Learned Academies. Honest History thanks him for allowing us to reproduce his keynote address here.