‘The centenary of Australia’s Federation: what should we celebrate?‘ Australia. Senate: Papers on Parliament, 37, November 2001
Touches on some early history, including Australia’s pioneering political and social reforms, then answers the question by reference to one hundred years of federalism, democracy and independence, war and defence, the economy, Aborigines, the environment and nationalism.
My view [Blainey concludes before answering some questions from the audience] is that by world standards Australia has had a very successful history since 1901. Few nations have had more success, especially when the obstacles are considered. The nation’s failures are also many, and some are beyond dispute. And yet this remains a place of enormous hope and opportunity. Edmund Barton, before he became the nation’s first prime minister, captured that sense of opportunity and privilege too. He penned the stirring words: “For the first time in history we have a nation for a continent, and a continent for a nation.”