Nationalist rhetoric in Australia and New Zealand in the twentieth century: the limits of divergence

Doig, Jack (2013). Nationalist rhetoric in Australia and New Zealand in the twentieth century: the limits of divergence PhD Thesis, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.396

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Author Doig, Jack
Thesis Title Nationalist rhetoric in Australia and New Zealand in the twentieth century: the limits of divergence
School, Centre or Institute School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.396
Publication date 2013
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Martin Crotty
Sarah Pinto
Total pages 256
Language eng
Subjects 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
210311 New Zealand History
210305 British History
Formatted abstract
This thesis analyses the nationalist rhetoric of successive Australian and New Zealand governments over the twentieth century. It uses political rhetoric to analyse the way that ideas about race, Empire and geopolitical identities were invoked, transformed and discarded in Australia and New Zealand. Each chapter in this thesis is a case study of an event that caused the two governments to articulate visions of Australia and New Zealand and their place in the world. It draws upon transnational and comparative historiography dealing with Australia and New Zealand, as well as scholarship seeking to understand nationalism and geopolitics. It uses these theoretical frameworks to explain the resilience and then rapid decline of British settler nationalism in Australia and New Zealand and analyse the post-British nationalisms that took its place.

This thesis begins at a time when Britishness pervaded most aspects of nationalist rhetoric in Australia and New Zealand, and it ends in 1990 where governments adopted explicitly post-British post-racial national identities. It explains this transformation by analysing a series of case studies through the twentieth century that illustrate the decline of the British Empire and the attempts by governments in Australia and New Zealand to define a new place for themselves within the world. This project places that process in comparative perspective by comparing their response to this challenge.

This comparative and transnational approach provides an explanation for the divergence in nationalist rhetoric in Australia and New Zealand. By considering: Federation in 1901, World War One, World War II, Britain’s decline in the 1960s, new Labo(u)r governments in the 1970s, the ANZUS crisis in 1984-5 and national celebrations in 1988 and 1990, this thesis tracks the decline of the British Empire in the settler colonies. This caused the differences between Australia and New Zealand — apparent in 1901 and influential on the two governments’ responses to a range of issues — to become even more pronounced. At the same time, an analysis of political rhetoric in the two countries points to important ongoing similarities that reflect the fact that governments on both sides of the Tasman were affected by similar processes and concerned with similar issues. They were both coming to terms with Britain’s decline and developing post-British national identities that addressed the myriad challenges the two countries faced.
Keyword Nationalism
Identity
New Zealand
Australia
Transnationalism
Geopolitics
Race
Britishness

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Created: Sun, 17 Nov 2013, 10:15:45 EST by Jack Doig on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service