Australian democracy has been defined as much by its international relationships and engagement with global affairs as by domestic events. Australia has played a key role in developing or ratifying international conventions and treaties, illustrating how far global movements such as human rights have influenced the evolution of Australian democracy since Federation. Australia's role in overseas military conflicts has been a particularly difficult issue for successive governments since colonisation.
The defence of the nation was enshrined in the Australian Constitution at Federation, and one of the federal parliament's first acts was to create a national military force for service within Australia. However, the issue of compulsory conscription for overseas military service has deeply divided Australians, and remains a highly contentious issue in Australian society.
Image courtesy of the Australia War Memorial.
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Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
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